'Indian toh nahi lagti ho': Manipur woman alleges racial harassment at Delhi airport

Jul 11, 2016, 11:40 IST | mid-day online correspondent

A Manipuri woman, on Saturday, alleged on Facebook that an immigration official at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport passed racist remarks at her.

Monika Khangembam. Pic/Facebook

The woman, Monika Khangembam, who was heading to Seoul for a conference, posted on her FB wall, “The racist immigration desk at it again! Looks at my Passport and says, "Indian toh nahi lagti ho". I get that all the time so don't react much to it but then he goes on, "Pakka Indian ho?" with a smirk. I still don't react. What really got me was when he said, "See... You yourself need to know your Indianess. How many states are there in India?" The lady at the next counter is giggling. I tell him I am really running late. He goes, "nahi nahi bolo bolo". I helplessly answer him as he is not proceeding with the process.

“Kaha se ho? I said Manipur and he is like, "so tell me how many states Manipur shares borders with. Name them". I totally lose it and I look away and roll my eyes and don't answer. And he is still insisting me to answer. I said I was really getting late and he goes like, "aircraft aapko chodke kahi nahi jaa rahi. Aaram se jawab do". What a bully and never felt so humiliated. It was like it was his mission to make me realise my 'Indianness' and he thought he was being funny. I was running late and felt I was giving in to the bully. Spoiled my night. Is there a way to complain against these bullies?,” the post further read.

In her most recent post, she informed, “I am right now in Seoul for my programme and I have a hectic schedule ahead so might not be able to do anything from here. I can only do anything after I am back after 15 days. I couldn't get the name of the officer but a friend working at the IGI airport told me they can find out from CCTV footage.”

Expressing her frustration, she added, “Me and a lot of people from North East have constantly faced subtle racist jibes whether in the form of a sarcastic remark, smile, or attitude. Sometimes you cannot define it but you just feel it so you never express. Maybe this time it was something tangible so I could express it. Sadly you have to be killed to prove there is racism. (Richard Loitam, Nido Taniam)

“We constantly talk about auto walas and rickshaw walas harassing the NE people but what do you do when it's someone who deals with people from all over the world from different backgrounds and ethnicity daily? If they cannot be sensitive then how do we expect others to be respectful?,” she concluded.

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