‘Delhi police security booklet’: In the eye of the storm

Longrangty Longchar
Dimapur | July 17

THE HULLABALOO over the ‘profiling’ of north east students by the Delhi police which has stirred strong resentment among the people of North East has simmered for the moment, with the Delhi Police today calling for a meeting with the various students unions from north east region at Delhi. 

An active student leader from a North East state disclosed that almost all student unions of North East region in Delhi attended the meeting and they had a positive interaction with the police. “We had a nice time with the Delhi police,” said the student leader and added that the students’ delegation also met with the author of the booklet on ‘security tips for north east students’. 

However, she refused to divulge any further information on the meeting. Instead, she said that the author, Robin Hibu, Deputy Commissioner of Police, West Delhi, had always helped the north east students and that he would always be there to help the students in Delhi.  The student leader instead blamed the media for blowing the story out of proportion and requested the media not to drag it any further. 

“That booklet was meant to be circulated only among the students from the north east region living in Delhi, and somehow it was passed on to the media and the story was blown out of proportion,” she said and added that the booklet was meant as a guideline for the students of northeast region only.

Booklet not a profiling at all:  Hibu 
Robin Hibu, speaking with the Morung Express, said that that the publishing of the book is purely his initiative and not the official publication of the Delhi Police Department.

He said that booklet is simply an information brochure containing all the important telephone numbers of Delhi and not a profiling of the north east students. “It is more of an elder brotherly attempt to help out the north east people here,” said Hibu. 

The booklet, he said, contains mostly telephone numbers which one can use during any kind of emergencies. He lamented that the whole issue has been misinterpreted by the media without knowing the real background of the booklet. 
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He said that as a top police official in Delhi, he has helped many youths and people from the northeastern region who land up in jails and who face other problems with police.     

On being asked about the dress code and food habits which he mentioned in the brochure,  which has drawn a lot of criticism from different sections of north east people, Hibu said that he has added that point about dress and food habits “humorously”.

“In fact I like akhuni very much,” said Hibu and added that he is a very good cook.  He also clarified that he is not telling the girls from the north east region what to wear but simply to dress decently. He said that he really felt very sad when he read the news. Hibu said that a lot of people in Delhi have praised the brochure published by him, commenting that it is the first time that such a brochure has come out for the north eastern people. 

However, one noted women rights activist in Delhi, Bela Bhatia, speaking with The Morung Express expressed her shock and disbelief that the Delhi Police could do such a thing as publish that controversial book.

“I think that such racist comment on a community or people should not be made,” said Bhatia on the topic of food habits and dress codes. 

She termed as ‘perfect nonsense’ about the advice by the Delhi police to avoid smelly food like bamboo shoots and akhuni. 
“That (the advice not to cook smelly food) should be protested, we should protest. I love bamboo shoots, and in fact bamboo shoots are found not only in the north east region but also in many parts of India. WE are lucky that India have so many diverse cuisines, we should be proud of it. Even in India there are many other smelly food items, but that should not be restricted to community or a region, but should be accepted as the taste of the food concerned. 

On the question of the dress code, she said that the cases of rapes and molestation cases might sometimes be because of scanty, but she strongly said that there is a conception, a psyche that women are not safe in lonely bye lanes and are provocative when scantily clothed. Bhatia strongly opined that the people should fight that ‘psyche’, the ‘patriarchal norms’, instead of telling what women should wear or not.

“Women have the own freedom for choosing their dress,” said Bhatia.

A Human Right activist from North east region based in Delhi said that the intention of the book and its author might have been good but the booklet tends to generalize the whole north east people living in Delhi. 

The activist opined that some sporadic cases of rape might have happened because the woman was scantily dressed, but it does not mean that it does not happen to other well dressed women. 

The activist said that the assumption that rape occurs to only scantily dressed women makes a concerned person ‘uncomfortable’. 

However, despite all the comments and the hullabaloo over the whole issue, The Morung Express got hold of the booklet today, and the content was stark. Just as the author, Robin Hibu, said, it had telephone numbers and some general advice and safety tips.

However, it does tell the women not to wear scanty clothes and implied to dress decently, not to disturb neighbours with smelly food like akhuni and bamboo shoots, not to have disturbing parties and so on. However, the question yet to be answered is simply, ‘Are north east people the only one wearing scanty clothes, eating smelly food cuisines, having parties? And do the north east people really need a security measures to be followed in what is called the nation’s capital?’ The answer is simply not forthcoming from the Delhi police.

Morung Express News