Following criticism over the use of the word "immigrants" for people from northeast in its vision document for Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday came out with a rephrased version and asserted the party stood firmly behind those from the region and would ensure their protection and security.
"The BJP firmly believes that our sisters and brothers of northeast are proud citizens of India and wherever they are the BJP always walks an extra mile to ensure their protection and security -- be it Karnataka, be it Delhi or different parts of India," Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
He said, "The inadvertent mistake is seriously regretted. We have reprinted this chapter."
Reading out the rephrased chapter on "People from the northeast to be protected", he said, it now says -- "Special cells in all police stations and special helpline numbers to be set up for the protection of the northeastern people living in Delhi. To safeguard the students of NE origin, special guardianship will be arranged with local families for them."
The BJP had on Tuesday faced criticism from various quarters after people from the northeast were referred to as "immigrants" in the heading for the chapter on them in the vision document, with Congress leader Ajay Maken demanding an apology after removal of the word.
Protests erupted across Assam with the ruling Congress and the Opposition Asom Gana Parishad saying the statement had hurt the sentiments of the people.
BJP spokesperson M J Akbar termed it a printing mistake, saying, "There was unfortunately a printing mistake in the document. We apologise for the mistake."
"I want to reassure that all the brothers and sisters of the northeast living in Delhi are as valuable, as important for BJP as any other citizen," he said.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said "it is a clerical and printing mistake."