Abstract Of Research Project Report: North-East Migration And Challenges In National Capital Cities- Silent Racial Attack On Own Countrymen

The case of Dhaula Kuan gang rape of 30 years old Mizo girl, an employee at BPO by five men in moving truck on midnight of November 23, 2010 had shocked the whole nation. It was not the first nor was last of the plights faced by people from North East India in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). The city of Delhi has become a common place for rape and unsafe for women, particularly for those working at night. A woman is raped every 18 hours and molested every 14 hours during 2010 in Delhi according to Delhi police. The plight of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, attack and sexual violence against North East India women in Delhi and NCR are not new phenomenon, it has been repeatedly meted out to people from North East India and particularly women from the region have become easy target to sexual violence.

North East Support Centre & Helpline, an initiative of All India Christian Council and Operation Mercy India Foundation has been whistle-blowing for the last four years through advocacy, documentation, memorandum and delegation to various institutions and government offices, appealing to take up preventive measure to stop crimes, to end racial discrimination, sexual violence and human trafficking. But there is no intervention from law enforcing and government machineries. The plights of the people from North East India have become serious year after year and therefore preventive measure should be enacted effectively. To address the issue through authentic findings, North East Support Centre & Helpline conducted a research during January and February 2011 under the title, “North East Migration and Challenges in National Capital Cities.” The research project report of 40 pages is scheduled to release on International Women’s day on 8 March 2011 and copies will be made available for public usage.

The study was carried out through field interviews, questionnaire and literature research methodologies. The respondents are from two sources – First, 107 respondents from field interviews and questionnaire and second from 96 victims who have reported to North East Support Centre and Helpline during 2005 – 2011. The study was conducted by a team led by Madhu Chandra, Spokesperson of North East Support Centre & Helpline, as partial fulfillment of his doctorate program from South Asia Institute of Advance Christian Studies (SAIACS), Bangalore.

The purpose of the study was to explore the trend of North East Indian migration and challenges faced in Delhi and NCR that through an academic research project, a documentation may be produced for law enforcing agents and concerned governments to introduce suitable laws, policies and plan of actions and implement them to end sexual violence, racial discrimination and challenges of human trafficking faced by North East India communities.

Migration: Pull and Push Factors

1. North East Migration at Peak

Over 414,850 people from Northeast India migrated to other mega cities of India during 2005 and 2010. It is 12 times growth from 34,000 populations in 2005 in the last six years. The annual average increasing number of migration is 13.62%. Delhi is one of the most preferred destinies for North East migrants, currently with over 200,000 populations, which is 48.21%. Only 5% of migrants return to North East India after completing their studies. It is a matter of concern as far as intellectual, professional and technical investment is concerned in the region, who otherwise, could invest if they return to their home states.

The 66.35% of North East migrants migrate for higher studies, out of which, 78.15% for graduate studies, 11.48% for Engineering/managerial, 6.80% for Research/Ph. D. and 3.57% for medical studies while 35% of migrants migrate for employment opportunities in other cities of India with 15% for Government jobs and 85% for un-organized private sectors.

2. Lack of Educational Infrastructure – the Main Push Factor

The Main push factor leading to migration of North East people is due to lack of educational infrastructure with limited choice of education, followed by unemployment opportunities in the region which are badly affected by socio-political unrest and communal conflict among heterogeneous communities of the region.

3. Delhi Most Preferred Destiny

With the emerging of globalization, Delhi is the most attractive destiny for North East migrants for good educational infrastructure with multiple choices of study and employment opportunities in Central government jobs and private companies.

Challenges in North East Region

1. No Investment for Education in North East India

No specific attempt is made from Union Government as well as from state governments to develop educational infrastructure in North East India. Professional and technical education is lacking. Union Government’s budget for 2011-12 is Rs 8,000 crores which was presented in the budget session in Parliament. Over, 275,000 students from North East India migrated to other cities of India. Their study cost is one fifth of Union Government budget for 2011-12 if calculated at the rate of Rs 5,000 per student annually.

2. Unresolved Socio-Political Unrest – The Hindrance

Unresolved socio-political unrest, lack of development infrastructures, educational facilities, employment opportunities and communal conflict etc are serious nature of challenges in the region. These have affected peace and harmony among heterogeneous ethnic communities. Unless all these concerns are resolve soon the whole region will be forced into bad future, which will push more migration to other cities and challenges will continue.

3. No Impact of Globalization in Economic Development in North East India

Due to socio-political instability, the globalization has not merged in North East India. In spite of rich mineral resources and potential of international trade, private investment companies have not considered needy to invest in the region. Employment boom of globalization does not impact in the region.

Challenges in Delhi and NCR

1. Unsafe Delhi for Women

Delhi has become an unsafe city for women with increasing crimes against women. According to Delhi police, every 18 hours, a woman is raped and every 14 hours a woman is molested in Delhi. Jagori an organization working for women in Delhi conducted a pilot research in 2009 and their findings match close to police record. Around 70% women were reported harassed on roads while around 60% men and 71% common witnesses reported that they have seen women being harassed.

2. Unsafe for North East Communities

North East people in Delhi and NCR continue to face racial discrimination, racial attack, abuse, rape, molestation and killing. North East Support Centre & Helpline records 96 crimes against its people in Delhi and NCR, of which, 58% happened against women (34% molestation, 8% human trafficking, 7% beating, 4% rape, 2% attempt to rape), 26% against men, 5% murder, 6% non-payment of salary, 3% non-refund rent deposit, 1% missing person and 1% media bias. Challenges faced by North East people in Delhi have a paradigm shift from racial attack to sexual violence and sexual violence to human trafficking. Last challenge is more worrisome compare to first and second.

3. Racial Discrimination against North East Communities increase

The 78% of North Easterners in Delhi face racial discrimination in different forms which is slightly less compare to the 86% in 2009. The 83% of North East men and the 74% of their women face racial discrimination in Delhi and NCR.

4. Social Profiling: The Root Cause of Racial Discrimination

Social profiling is the root cause of racial discrimination, attack and sexual violence against men and women from North East India.

5. Social Profiling: The Reflection of Caste Apartheid

Social profiling is a reflection of India’s caste practices and social system as majority of North East India come from scheduled caste and tribes and ethnically Mongoloid race, who falls out of caste hierarchy.

6. Police Inactiveness leads to Crimes

Inactiveness of police officers on duty, who are biased in providing service to vulnerable men and women to racial attack and sexual violence and failing to book the perpetrators have fuelled more crimes against the North East Indian communities in Delhi and NCR.

7. Lack of Political Will

There is reluctance to issue directive to law enforcing agencies to provide safety measurement for vulnerable North East communities. They waited and delayed until the matter became very serious.


1. Investment for Education and Economic Development

North East Indian states need specific investment for educational infrastructure and economic development from Union government and state governments must prioritize it. Union Government along with Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, North East Council and state governments must seek to invest more to develop more in educational sector in the region.

2. Political Will

A political will from Union Government, Delhi Government, and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) must issue directive to implement existing laws, policies and plan of actions to end racial discrimination, sexual violence and human trafficking challenges faced by North East communities in national capital cities. North East MP Forums must take note of the plights faced by their communities and take up the matter with concerned law enforcing agencies and governments.

3. Private Educational Institutions

Education in North East India is surviving because of civil society organizations, which run private educational institutions. They need to continue their role in educational sectors. More professional and technical higher education must also include in their educational services to the region.

4. Law Enforcing Agencies

Safety preventive steps taken by Delhi police following Dhaula Kuan gang rape case, setting up night patrolling in unsafe places, CCTV camera installation, English speaker Helpline operators, women helpline and women cell at police stations and 9 points safety guidelines to BPO companies must be proactively monitored on regular basis.

5. Sensitisation

More public awareness on prevention and safety against sexual violence, human trafficking and racial discrimination is needed, which could be carried out by North East community leaders, student bodies. Basic legal awareness on how to file cases and legal remedies are essential part of sensitization. More cultural integration between North East and local communities is needed.

6. Media Advocacy

The print, news broadcasting television channels and electronic media has taken the voice of the plights faced by the communities. Media has done well in taking up the issues and plights of North East communities living in Delhi and NCR but the happenings in the region has not been done up to the mark.

Sixty years of socio-political unrest, lack of educational infrastructure and economic development issues are not covered in national highlights. Media might need to take more interest and initiative in bringing the issue to national limelight.

*Madhu Chandra is a social activist and research scholar based in New Delhi. He works as Regional Secretary of All India Christian Council (www.indianchristians.in), Spokes Person of North East Support Centre & Helpline (www.nehelpline.net) and National Secretary of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations (www.scstconfederation.org).

Madhu Chandra


North East Support Centre & Helpline


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