Unprecedented Mindset against North Easterners
(A Plan, Policy and Law Needed to End the Racial Discrimination)
By Madhu Chandra
The death of 19 years old Nido from Arunachal Pradesh at Delhi on 31st January after shopkeepers have beaten and two girls from Manipur attacked at Kotla Mubarak following day, are the realities of ongoing discrimination to the people from North East at India’s national capital. The ruling government at Delhi changed and so the police heads, but the mindsets of the people and the law enforcing agents remain unchanged. The cry and the protest continue that the plight faced by the people of North Easterners will be heard and brought to the end once for all.
The research report of racial discrimination conducted by the Jamia University and published recently in the national news papers has revealed the unprecedented plights faced by the community in national capital. 81% of the North East communities living in Delhi and NCR confessed the discrimination from their fellow county men and women in colleges, universities, work and market places. This report synchronises with two other research reports done by North East Support Centre & Helpline in 2009, where 86% of North East people are discriminated and faced the sexual harassment. The second research on North East Migration and Challenges in Mega Cities reveals another reality of changing trend from sexual harassment to racial discrimination, which means, if you have mongoloid face, you will be discriminated and treated unequal with other fellow country men and women. Nido’s death is one of the realities of the new trend.
These research findings have also proved that nothing has changed the plight of racial discrimination and sexual attack on North East men and women, even after many assurances given by the Delhi and Union Government.
In most of the crimes like such as this, the role played by Delhi police is matter of worried and concern. To be very honest, the mindset of Delhi police, particularly those on the ground reality has not changed. They are racist in their mindset and performance of their duty. This is the most worrisome while dealing the plight faced by the North East people at Delhi. In most of the cases, the perpetrators get out of reach because such mindset police personnel.
The women from North East India continues to face the sexual harassment, most suffer and beared silently in fear of social stigma and loosing of their carries. They face from their fellow colleagues at their work places, colleges and institutions, only a few dares to face the social stigma and the carrier challenges to come out openly and report to the police. Bearing the pain silently will encourage the perpetrators to commit more crimes, which can also be to any women irrespective of which region they belong to.
New trend of the plights faced by the people from North East India is slightly changing from sexual attack to racial attack. One having the Mongoloid feature could cost your life in India’s national capital. This has been going on for years and the government kept promising to ensure safety to the community, which will be forgotten in a day when a nation issue arises and they will come up with new promises when the crime like Nido’s repeats.
Sheila Dikshit, then the Chief Minister of Delhi has been heavily blamed for the sexual crime and racial attack on women and North East communities in Delhi. Now the ball is in the court of the staring Chief Minister Kajeriwal. The entire North East communities wait and watch, whether the Kajeriwal will give the lip service and put the promises into the reality to end the unprecedented plight of racial discrimination and sexual harassment to the men and women from North East India.
The peak of Migration from the North East region to national capital and other mega cities in search of better education and job opportunities in recently years continues and it is predicted the number will increase, which means that 200,000 North Easterners in Delhi will increase their number in near future. As the population increases, the plight of racial discrimination and sexual crimes against the men and women from North East India will likely continue.
North East Support Centre & Helpline was setup with a group of people voluntarily and they continue to render voluntary service to the victims and to the communities without any financial support from any end. To be very honest as a founding member and former Spokesperson of Helpline, it is very difficult and demanding task. Now, the student bodies from different states of North East India and tribes have come forward to fight together. All sections of the society must come together to end the plight faced by the people from North East India.
How do we handle and attempt to bring to the end?
First, the most important, there is an urgent need to bring a law and policy to tackle the problem of racial discrimination. Repeated assurance by the government without adopting any specific policy and enacting any law has been the lip service for the government and law enforcing agencies. In order to bring a suitable policy and enact a law dealing the racial attack and discrimination, the Union and Delhi government must invite social scientist, experts and social workers from North East India and others to conduct a series of consultation to help drafting the bill.
Second, the silent spectators of North Eastern state governments on the plights faced their people in national capital and other mega cities. All the states must adopt a collective policy otherwise in their state level to end the plights faced by their people. Unfortunately and in spite of repeated appealed to all North Eastern states to come up with a plan and policy dealing the crisis faced by their people in mega cities, but it has been not dumped so far.
Third, the perpetrators do not differentiate the differences between North Eastern states or communities or tribes, when they plan to attack men and assault women. But the response is to encounter the attack and assault depend on the tribe or community or the state the victims belong. This has been the struggle for North East Support Centre & Helpline. One can turn off from one and turn on to other. A collective effort is the need of the hour.
Four, silent suffers must break out. Keeping silent when one is attacked or taken sexual advantage, it must be reported to the Grievance Cell at the work places, which is a mandatory as per the directive from Supreme Court of India. The offender will only take advantage of you when you keep silent and they will take advantage from others as well.
Madhu Chandra is one of the founding member and former Spokesperson of North East Support Centre & Helpline. He is currently based at Kakching, Manipur.