Kohima: On the issue of racial profiling and racial discrimination faced by Nagas and other Northeast Indians living outside the region, due to the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Friday appealed all his counterparts to ensure that Nagas and people from the other states are “taken good care of”.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) wrote: “Honourable Chief Minister of #Nagaland @Neiphiu_Rio writes to all the Chief Ministers of #India in the wake of #CoronavirusOutbreak”. It also attached the letter written by the chief ministers across the country.
In the letter, written to all chief ministers of the states, Nagaland chief minister said that as COVID-19 sweeping across the world, India as a nation is “working tirelessly to contain and prevent its spread” and that the 21-day nation-wide lockdown is a “drastic but welcome step”. It added that while the lockdown is implemented with the “best of intentions” by the states, there are “some people residing in other States for education or work” and that they are “stranded away from home”.
“I assure you that we are taking all steps to ensure that people from other states residing in or visiting Nagaland are safe and are taken good care of. Similarly, I request you to take care of the people from Nagaland who may be stranded in your state and could be in need of food, accommodation or medical assistance, etc,” the letter said.
It said that “at this juncture”, there is a need to raise voice “against any instance of discrimination or profiling on account of race, religion or region”. Shanavas C, IAS, principal director of school education is assigned to monitor and coordinate with other states, and will be available at contact no : +918732893116.
“My office will also be available for any further assistance in this regard. Let us hope and pray that our collective determination and actions will see us through this unprecedented crisis,” the letter concluded.
Meanwhile, the chief minister also announced a sanction of Rs 17.5 crore to the Village Development Boards (VDBs) to combat COVID-19.
Taking to twitter, Rio wrote: “To meet the immediate needs of the rural people in #Nagaland and in an effort to combat #COVID2019, 50% of state funded grants-in-aid to VDB amounting to ₹ 17.5 Cr has being released to set-up quarantine homes and for procurement of basic necessities”.
Earlier, the chief minister sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each to the Naga Students’ Union Bangalore, DRC Nagaland House Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati to aid displaced Nagas in the cities. He had also condemned the racist attacks against the Northeast Indians in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Saying that COVID-19 is a public health crisis, he said “The virus has no borders neither its cure will have. Let’s work together with compassion, understanding and love to turn the tide on it”.
Nagaland chief secretary Temjen Toy also appealed the Nagas to report any kind of racial discrimination and harassment by email at email@example.com with personal details or contact his team by phone at 03702291120 or 03702291122 or 1070.