Another North Eastern youth has become victim of racial hatred in Delhi, but are we bothered? Akha Salouni (29yrs), a Manipuri BPO employee, was brutally killed in Delhi on 20th July’2014, Sunday.
Delhi and NCR as a region has been evidently becoming increasingly intolerant toward people from the North East. Though such violence exists in other parts of the country too, however instances of such incidents are disproportionately high in Delhi and NCR region. People from North Eastern states continue to face racial discrimination, racial attack, abuse, rape, molestation and killing in Delhi and NCR. The official apathy and bias amongst the law enforcing agencies in providing timely support and service to the vulnerable North Eastern men and women against such violence and attack and failure to book the perpetrators is the major reason for alarming increase in such crimes. Even the political system in Delhi lacks the will to act against such criminal elements in this region. A report by the North East Support Centre and Helpline (NESCH) has revealed that 78% of the North East population in Delhi is subjected to various kinds of injustice, humiliation and violence because of their appearance. Social profiling is the root cause of racial discrimination, attack and sexual violence against men and women from the North East. The majority of North East Indian people come from scheduled caste and tribes and ethnically from the Mongoloid race. Due to their dresses, hair, looks and lifestyles- ‘Chinky’, ‘Chowmein’, ‘Momo’, ‘Chinese’ etc. are some of the terms that are always called at them. Girls in western outfits are considered ‘loose’ and are often become the object of male gaze. At market places they are often overcharged for food and other items, while many landlords harass or misbehave with them inspite of charging higher rents than normal. What is cynical about the whole issue is that there is no Indian law that can deal with racial abuse or its related crimes when it is of ethnic origin. This defeats the fundamental principle that India is a plural and multi-cultural nation. This shows the lack of cultural tolerance and cultural understanding of the majority of people especially in North India about a section of their fellow country men and women. There is hegemonic and ethnocentric feeling among the North Indian people and their feudal, patriarchal mind-set does not allow them to accept other culture and people. I have no hesitation in saying that India is one of the most ‘racist nation’. It is high time for India to reassert its cultural plurality and build cultural understanding among people from various regions by educating them culture and history about different regions. Today there is growing emotional and psychological gaps among the North Eastern people and the mainland Indians and this will adversely affect the process of nation building in India. If unchecked there can be further division in society that can ultimately paralyze the Indian state. So it is high time for Indian Government and Social Organizations to wake up and act swiftly.