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“Tibetan”, “Chinkis”, “Nepalis”…Insult them if they don’t look like you.

Nido Taniam. His only fault was that he did not look like the “regular” brown skinned Delhiite
And decided not to ignore taunts that were allegedly made by a shopkeeper.  The usual government versus police blame game has begun, but it is we who are at fault and our mind sets that need to change for the better.

Our north eastern compatriots are confused as Chinese, Tibetan, Nepalese, it could be a very innocent mistake, as they share common mongoloid features with the nationals of the countries mentioned. However, it is wrong to take them for granted and to demean their culture and food habits and lifestyles. This reflects poorly on our own upbringing. I hate it when people use terms like “ Chinki” to describe someone who belongs either to Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Agartala, Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim. I really wish we would stop with racism that we unknowingly or knowingly perpetuate, its time the so called “mainstream Indians” were educated and taught to respect and accept their fellow citizens. Nido Taniam was a youth, the same age as a lot of us, who moved to the capital city to gain a better quality of education and life, away perhaps from the tensions of his hometown. Last year a similar incident had occurred in Bangalore and the victim was Richard Loitam, and a lot of the north eastern students and workers had left the city in fear of attacks. A recent research reported that Delhi is the most unsafe metro for north easterners and Mumbai the safest. The metros claim to be cosmopolitan and liberal, but acts like these and indifference of the people around; only tarnish the image of the Indians at large.

In a case of racial profiling, the University of Hyderabad  in 2011 launched an“initiative” to curb drinking and drug use on campus by working with students from the north-east. In 2007, the Delhi Police decided to solve the problems of security faced by the north-easterners in Delhi, particularly women, by coming up with a booklet entitled Security Tips for North East Students asking north-eastern women not to wear “revealing dresses” and gave kitchen tips on preparing bamboo shoot, akhuni, and “other smelly dishes” without “creating ruckus in neighbourhood.”  

The recent decision of the Union Home Ministry to put anyone behind bars for five years for calling a person a ‘chinki’ has come as a relief for the beleaguered community after their silent battle for years. “A person is liable to three years of imprisonment if he is found guilty under Section 153 A and B of the Indian Penal Code. According to these sections anybody promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony and whoever, by words either spoken or written or by signs make such representations….. but no laws have been framed earlier to ban the use of such racist words in the country.”

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