Hate crime: Manipuri youth assaulted in Bangalore for not speaking Kannada; 3 held

In a shocking incident in Bangalore, a Manipuri student was allegedly beaten by a gang of men who demanded he speak in Kannada. Three people were arrested in connection with the incident

Bangalore: Three people were arrested Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a Manipuri youth at an eatery here for refusing to speak with them in the local (Kannada) language, police said.

"We have registered a case against the accused and arrested them on a complaint the 26-year-old victim (Michael Lamjathang Haokip) lodged with police earlier in the day," deputy commissioner of police (northeast) Vikas Kumar told IANS.

The accused are Arun Kumar, 26, James, 25, and Karunakar, 23.

Police later produced the accused before a magistrate for judicial remand and interrogation to investigate the case further.

Clarifying that it was not a hate crime, but a provocative attack due to communication gap, Arun Kumar said the stray incident took place on the spur following an argument between the accused and the victim, who was with two Manipuri friends (Ngamkholen, 28, and Rocky Kipgen, 25) at the eatery.

"The accused told Haokip and his friends in Kannada to speak softly as they were conversing loudly in English and disturbing them and others present at the food joint.

"As the Manipuri youths did not know Kannada, they continued speaking ignoring what the accused asked them. A heated argument ended in the accused assaulting the victim with a heavy stone," Arun Kumar said citing the complaint.

As a result, Haokip, who is president of the Thadou (Manipuri tribe) Students Association in the city, sustained injuries to his face and head.

"As the victim and his friends were mistaken to be Chinese, the accused told them to learn Kannada if they wanted to live in Bangalore or go back to China," Arun Kumar pointed out.

The suburb where the incident took place has a large presence of outstation students, especially from the north-eastern region of the country.

"When we told them (accused) we are new to the city and don't understand Kannada, they told me in a mix of English and Kannada that this is India and not China despite our telling them we are from Manipur and not from China," Haokip said.

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