New Delhi, March 24, 2020:
Amid rising number of cases of racial discrimination against people from the Northeast amid the corona outbreak (apparently for their mongoloid features), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to all States and Union Territories to take action against such cases of harassment.
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“It has come to notice of the Ministry that people from North East have been facing harassment after the occurence of COVID-19 in the country. There have been cases where people of North East including the athletes and sports persons have been harassed by linking them to COVID-19. This is racially discriminatory, inconvenient and painful to them”, read the communique.
The MHA has further called upon all the law enforcing agencies in every state/UT to take appropriate action in cases of harassment when these are reported. The notice was undersigned by R.K. Pandey, the Deputy Secretary of NE-II.
It is pertinent to mention here that tensions came to a head when a girl from Manipur was spat on in Vijay Nagar, New Delhi, and called “coronavirus.”
This racial attack reportedly took place amidst the pandemic COVID-19 at around 9.30 PM just after the “Janta curfew” ended. According to reports, two Delhi University students went out of their PG to get some groceries when a man in his 40s on a white colored two wheeler drove by and spat paan from mouth on to the girls, while aiming for their faces.
Assam Congress leader Pradyut Bordoloi took to his Facebook and wrote, “On the wings of Corona onslaught, there is a sudden outburst of racial attacks in last couple of days on the boys and girls of the Northeast presently residing in Delhi and in some other places. Hope the saner elements of our civil society rise to quell this menace.”
Meanwhile, social media abounds with children from the Northeast decrying racism that they are facing due in the aftermath of the corona outbreak.
Recently, many posts on social media reveal that Northeast Indians are actually facing a tough time in the rest of Indian states as suspicion grows amid skyrocketing number of cases in the subcontinent.
It may be mentioned here that a group of friends from the NE studying in Chunni Kalan have shot a video in which they claim that the locals tease them by calling them “coronavirus”.
Meanwhile, a similar sentiment has been echoed by the prominent activist, Alana Golmei. In a lengthy social media rant, she wrote, “To all those racist Indian (young and old) coronavirus was brought India by your own rich Indians who travelled to foreign countries and have nothing to do with any mongoloid features in India. Those tested positive so far are those Indians or their families whom they came in contact with. While you are mocking and targeting NE people of any mongoloid features by calling them coronavirus your own great Indians (those features you accepted as real Indians) are avoiding or running away from getting themselves tested.”
One of the students informs that many of the locals in the Punjab village tease them “We do not have any relation to coronavirus; it has come from China. Our looks are different, but we Northeast people do not have any relation to China.”
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