16th Mar 2017 10:03:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

                 The assault on Higio Gungtey a student pursuing studies in Bengaluru by his landlord is very disturbing as over time there has been a significant increase in racial attacks on students from the northeast and also from Arunachal Pradesh. Another ArunachaleeKhuadun Khangham, who was working in a restaurant in Bengaluru, was assaulted by miscreants and then thrown out of a moving vehicle on January 7 this year.

For the countless Northeasterners residing in mainland India racial abuse is real and a routine occurrence. The national capital Delhi has gained notoriety for its extreme xenophobia. Perceived as a safe haven, Bengaluru a much sought after educational hub by the NE community largely for its cosmopolitan and tolerant ways is being shattered by the day.

Racial profiling and discrimination against India’s North Easterners has been a blot on the image of a country which has prided itself of its tolerant ways. Verbal racial abuse is part and parcel of a North Easterner’s daily existence in mainland India. However, the violent turn such incidents take occasionally leading to fatalities has been a sickening and growing concern. Young Arunachalee Nido Tania who died following an altercation in 2014, is one such a tragic loss.

Though police often dismiss the race angle to deflect charges of failing to ensure harmony in their areas, the fact remains that India is particularly intolerant to communities different than their own. Mainland Indians under the garb ‘Indian conservatism’ eye people of different races and cultures with suspicion. Xenophobia does not just afflict the illiterate but also the educated, as clearly illustrated in the Higio Gungtey case where the perpetrator is a Lawyer by profession.

While Indians cry foul and play the victim card when their counterparts are subjected to racial profiling anywhere in the globe, they remain mute and blind when such behaviour is meted towards their fellow Indians (Read North East people).

India lacks a law against racial assault despite two-year-old recommendations from a panel the government had appointed after teenaged Arunachal student Nido Tania was lynched in a Delhi market. But one wonders if matters will be any different even if a law existed.

Racism is rampant at the level of societal everyday experiences but difficult to prove.  Racism is most often felt, perceived, like an invisible wound, difficult to articulate or recall in the language of the law or evidence. It is these insidious, everyday forms of racial discrimination that bruise the body and the mind, build up anger and frustration. Civilized society must have no room for such intolerant minds. Racism must be fought because it is wrong regardless of the origin of its victims.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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