INDIAN RACISM AND THE PLIGHT OF NORTHEASTERS FROM DELHI
After the brazen murder of a Manipuri by a bunch of illiterates back in July, again yesterday two boys from North East were badly beaten. Awang Newmei who is 22 and Alato Chishi 23 hail from Nagaland and both were beaten to every inch of their life in Sikanderpur area which is near Gurgoan. It is about time we start thinking of others and how we treat some of our own citizens as outsiders.
In the last few years we have seen an increasing level of intolerance towards our brothers and sisters from north east part of India. We call them names which I am not going to dignify in this article, because frankly it makes me physically sick. I am South Indian have been living in Delhi throughout and I have shared my own level of indifference in this city, but never such level of apathy.
I want to make one thing clear, I love Delhi and the diversity in which I grow up which has made me a better person, but how in god’s name did we become so intolerant and violent towards our own people and how long we will have to brave this outrage and let “Hate Crime” this “Indian Racism” flourish in the capital of India.
First the senseless murder of Shaloni, a BPO worker in Kotla Mubarakpur area, again highlighted the problems faced by people coming from North Eastern part of India back in July this year. I am not indicting the entire people of North India when it comes to racial insensitivity; we all have been guilty of saying something derogatory or stay silent and frankly those of us who are silent are the ones who are letting this madness out of control. This is not a one-off incident and reports of attacks on North Eastern students and BPO staffers have been on the rise for a long time and the inaction on the part of Police and civil society is making matters worse.
Also girls from Northeast are harassed on a daily basis for their looks and how they dress. But I must concede girls are harassed all over Delhi. period! And we even have the good sense not to discriminate when it comes to that. However the life of an ordinary girl from Northeast who is either studying or working is no walk in the park, which many of us do without fear.
Why this is happening and what steps have been taken to prevent such attacks in the future? Delhi Police have started a special helpline numbers for Northeastern students and those who work in Delhi NCR. But is this a solution? I do not think so. WHY? They have equal rights under the law and by dialing 100 they should get the same response time as any other person living in Delhi. If there is a special hotline number (1093) for them and I stress the word “Them”, than we have successfully managed to segregate them and have put them in a category. If this helpline number helps them, fine I am very happy, but does that mean the emergency police number 100 has no relevance? In a state of panic I am sure most people will dial 100 and not any specific hotline number created for a group of people who look different may forget at time of grave emergency.
The memory of a young Muslim man being beaten to death in Pune is still fresh in our minds. He was killed because of a particular appearance, so should we go ahead and create a special hotline number of Muslims and then what about the Sikhs, they look conspicuous, should we create a number for them? I promise one thing, the list is endless.
The people from Northeast are law abiding, taxpaying citizens of India and their rights are no less than the next Indian. It is understandable if there is special hotline number for women, but this number 1093 will become a symbol for people from Northeast. We might well ask them to wear a band on their arms with the number 1093 like the Nazis did with Jews by making them wear the Star of David. We must all be treated equally and the word “They and Them” should not be used.
We are all Indians for god sake.
What are we trying to achieve here? Are we trying to send them all packing home? Or we do not want them to be part of India and if that is the case China is more than happy to comply with our wishes. They already have sights set on Arunachal Pradesh, why not the entire states of Northeast. We already equate them to the Chinese and use a very derogatory term to describe them. Imagine if this really happens. Will India become a better country or a weak country?
"Weak" is my answer.
As an Indian we have the right to travel study and work anywhere in India without being discriminated or intimidated by anyone. We cannot tolerate this decease which is spreading in Delhi or any other part of our country and must take steps to improve. Also tougher sentences should be levied on those who perpetuate hate crimes. Those who have been arrested and for a change very quickly by the Delhi Police for this senseless murder of an innocent person should be made to realize the gravity of this situation and it must sink in deeply how they have managed to destroy their own life.
Muhammad Iqbal once famously wrote an Anthem “Sare Jahan se Accha Hindustan Hamara”, which we still sing, but sadly it is no longer the case and if this circle of indifference continues, it will soon be “Sare Jahan se Accha North, South and West Hamara, because we will one day completely alienate our own countrymen and women from the Northeast. So before that happens, let us kill this decease of hate and indifference, let us boycott our own apartheid and be one again.