- Posted October 21, 2014 by
new delhi, India
worst case of racial attack in our own country .
By Sira Kharay
It was past midnight when T. Michael Lamjathang Haokip, Ngamkholen Haokip and Rocky Kipgen from Manipur were brutally beaten by a mob of local natives at Kothanur, Bangalore “for not speaking in Kannada”. In the ensuing night Aloto Sumi and Awang Newmai from Nagaland were taken captive and detained for more than 3 hours, tortured and thrashed them with cricket bats, hockey sticks and beer and whiskey bottles at Sikanderpur, Gurgaon. Barely some 24 hours thereafter, a breaking news flashed in that Juliet Zonunmawi, a young girl from Mizoram was found in a pool of blood inside her residence at Munirka, New Delhi.
The Bengaluru’s Kannada native attackers warned, “If you outsiders know how to eat food that is produced in Karnataka, you must also know to speak Kannada. This is India not China.” Enacting sterner racist undertones, the Gurgaon’s Haryanvi mobsters issued racist death threats to the people of “native” Northeast in general, “We want to send a message to all of you in the northeast. If you guys from Manipur or Nagaland come here, we will kill you”. It is learned that the local residents of Gurgaon had earlier passed a resolution that people from the Northeast must leave the area.
Earlier in the month of February, 2014, a Khap Panchayat called by Bhagwant Singh (President), Bhartu Rathi (Secretary), and Dhiraj Tokas (husband of Counsellor) from Munirka, New Delhi had issued similar diktats directing the landlords to evict all the tenants from Northeast within 3 months from Munirka area. In the like manner, a Naga lady in Chirag Delhi, New Delhi was forced to shut down her shop in the month of May, 2014 just because the neighbouring local shop keepers were losing customers.
Thus, the organised and coordinated structure, motive and nature of targeting the Northeasterners as shown above and the undercurrent of political mobilisation and institutional backing it receives evidently demonstrate that the attacks are more systematic and dangerous than racist simpliciter. The overtly expressed communal, ethnic, racial and political undertones of all such attacks indicate a form of humanitarian crisis and the intensity seems to be already shaping the situation into a pattern of racial persecution. However, the human state agency is still engaged in making politically correct statements allowing the magnitude of this systematic violation of human rights to go without any legal remedies.
The Union Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, was ridiculously quoted on Thursday as saying, “I will talk to all chief ministers regarding this. Any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste or creed will not be allowed”. He assumes that racism has anything to do with caste or maybe he has confused the Northeasterners for the Sudras and Dalits of the ancient Indian social structure and traditional varnas. To further rub insult to the wounds, the Police Departments have been habitually brushing aside such occurrences as mere drunken brawls and not racist.
Instead of ushering in anti-racist enactments and constitutional restructuring process, Delhi Police initiated Self-Defence Training and Hindi Speaking Classes for the people of Northeast, implicitly thereby denying the issue as an institutional problem of the Indian state structure. The state has thus embarked on this aggressive policy of assimilation to integrate the Northeast into the dominant culture by dangerously reducing racism into an issue of lingua-franca and martial trial to be culturally solved by the victims themselves and not by the state. Whereas the state has forgotten that in this country, any attempt to fight back in self-defence for the Northeasterners is always paid back by one’s own life and limbs. Be that as it may, the pertinent question is will the racist law enforcing agency come to the rescue of the Northeasterners when the local-racists are in fact physically neutralised by them in self-defence or will the law on the contrary turn around and confine them behind the bars as aggressors rather than victims. On the other hand, has the state in conceiving such proposition appreciated the inherent danger of communal consequence that might ensue by turning Delhi into a fighting test-ground between local-racist-attack and Northeast-self-defence.
Nevertheless, the Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, on Saturday assured that the Centre will soon implement the recommendations of Bezbaruah Committee and an exclusive helpline for northeast people living in Gurgaon will be soon in place. But how soon enough might be the “soon” when the state agencies have not even the least political will and sincerity to admit racism as racism, let alone public condemnation. The students often complained that the Special Helpline No. 1093 meant for the Northeast people in the NCR Delhi most of the time does not either answer, pick, or respond as contrary to assurances.
Inspite of various security, cultural and awareness measures being implemented, there is unprecedented rise in anti-northeast racist persecutions against the Northeast immigrants. Shockingly, the home state Governments, political parties, MPs and MLAs of the Northeast instead of leading the motion have always maintained staunch silence on the issue until now. Whereas their silence is immensely devaluing the worth of Northeast life before the eyes of these alien racists. The accumulated frustration and anger of the youth against their political class in general in this circumstance is fast turning into an explosive device. The pertinent question is – Are the politicians still waiting for piling up of more dead bodies or do they still think that raising of Northeast specific issues might insult their political bosses in New Delhi.
It is a shame that Northeast is too ready for a clash even to the bitterest end when it is among themselves, but the moment New Delhi’s interest clashes with their commons, they become silent. The political elites of the Northeast must realise that their inability to articulate and confront for Northeast common interest is the only reason which renders their presence insignificant in national politics. Reorientation of political imagination thus is the need of the hour and to begin with thereto, it must be appreciated that racism in India is bound to remain unless the deeply historical, institutional and structural faultlines leftover by colonialism are constitutionally resolved by way of grand reorganisation of the whole Northeast on ethnic lines and devolution of maximum power and self-autonomy.