'Educate children about the northeastern states', says students

Feb 04, 2014, 06:10 IST | Tahasin Atar

Natives of northeastern states residing in the city say schools across the country should educate students on the 'Seven Sister' states, so they realise it is an integral part of India

“Why do people find it hard to accept that we are Indians?” said Likha Tabin, native of Nagaland, who is a 4th year law student at Symbiosis Law College in the city.

Outrage: Hundreds of students from the northeastern states hold placards and candles in Delhi, as they protest the death of Nido Tania. Pic/AFP

Tabin’s exasperation comes in the wake of the tragic death of Nido Tania, who was beaten up after he protested against a shopkeeper’s taunts about his physical appearance in Delhi, which led to his death.

MiD DAY spoke to students from northeast that are either studying here or are working professionals to find out if they suffered any forms of discrimination in their everyday life while residing in the city.

“Varying form of discrimination are common in every city across mainland India. If we are looking for accommodation, house owners ask us for our passports. Even during admission into colleges, the authorities tend to charge the same amount of fees as they do from foreigners,” added Tabin.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Manipur native Ransom Lungleng, a student of Political science in the city, said, “Just because we dress differently or tie our hair differently, people don’t give a second thought that we might be Indians. We are branded as Nepalese or Chinese. We feel offended when people think of us as citizens of another nation. How would they feel if we asked them if they are from Pakistan or Bangladesh?”

Nitin Ghodke, the coordinator of My Home India, an NGO that caters to the issues faced by the northeastern community in the city, said, “There is a lack of awareness among people as regards to the nationality of people from the northeastern states. They fail to realise that these students are from our country. The locals tend to isolate them due to their appearance and different lifestyle.”

The president of northeast community organization, Pune, Rock Lunleng feels that this issue should be addressed at the grass root level.

“A change should be made at the school level. The school textbooks should include information about the northeastern community and the students from a very young age should be made aware that we are Indians and not foreigners.”

String of attacks

2009: On the night of June 21, around 15 stick-wielding persons who had earlier abused the students with racial slurs assaulted four Naga students at Salisbury Park in Pune.

2012: In August, a Manipuri student Richard Loitam was found dead in his hostel room in Bangalore. Loitam’s friends and family alleged that the 19-year-old died as a consequence of an assault by his seniors.

2013:  In May, A S Reingamphi from Choithar village, Ukhrul district of Manipur, was found dead in her rented accommodation in Chirag Dilli of South Delhi. There were signs of brutal assault on her nose, face and legs.

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