Several students from the Northeast are crying for justice, a day after Arunachal Pradesh MLA's son Nido Taniam was allegedly beaten to death by some shopkeepers.
The brutal assault, which has now been dubbed as another example of "racial attack", took place at the crowded Lajpat Nagar-I market in South Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
Taniam, the son of an Arunachal Pradesh Congress MLA Nido Pavitrawas, was reportedly beaten up by a group of 5-6 men. A student of a university in Jalandhar, Taniam had come to Delhi for a vacation and to see his sister who is studying in Delhi University.
It all started when he, along with two of his friends, had gone to the area to see an ailing friend. They approached a shop seeking directions.
Two shopkeepers, who have now been identified as Farhan and Akram - who run the Rajasthan Paneer Shop - reportedly made fun of Taniam's hairstyle and clothes as he had coloured his hair blonde and wore a red pair of trousers.
After a heated protest against the slur, a furious Taniam reportedly entered the shop and shattered a glass-topped table. Taniam and his friends as well as Farhan and Akram were taken to police station where Taniam was reportedly made to pay 10,000 for the destruction.
According to Taniam's relatives, police then dropped Taniam near the same shop where the altercation had taken place, a move that has been highly criticized. This time, Taniam was beaten mercilessly, his cousin told the media.
Police, on Saturday denied that they had dropped the youth back at the site of altercation but the Delhi government has said that whether or not that actually happed should be looked into.
"The way police picked him up and then dropped him at the same spot needs to be looked into," TOI quoted AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey.
"The way lawlessness is prevailing in the state needs to be checked and Delhi police will have to take the responsibility to stop such incidents," he added.
Taniam's untimely death has raised another round of questions on the issue of racial profiling of the people from the north-east.
"We do not consider the people of North East as cultural citizens of India even though they are legal citizens. Even today the history of the North East is not part of our mainstream curriculum. We need to have broader cultural context," First Post quoted sociologist Sanjay Srivastava as saying.
This is not the first time that massive ill-treatments have been meted out to people from the North East in other regions of the country especially in Delhi. Let us recall a few of them:
April 2009: An eight-year-old tribal girl was raped, murdered and dumped inside a neighbour's water tank at Mahipalpur in Delhi
October 2009: A young woman pursuing Masters in Jamia Milia Islamia was waylaid and molested by a group of school boys while she was returning home after college. The police were reportedly reluctant to identify the culprits.
October 2009: A 19-year-old Manipur-based Naga woman was raped and murdered by Pushpam Kumar Sinha, a PH.D. scholar at IIT Delhi, at Munirka village in New Delhi.
November 2010: A 30-year old BPO employee from Manipur was gang raped by five drunken men for over 40 minutes in a moving vehicle. She was reportedly forced into the vehicle near Nanakpura Gurdwara and was later found in Mangolpuri Industrial Estate.
February 2013: Ten students, all from Manipur, were attacked by some people in the Delhi University campus.
May 2013: A woman from Manipur was found dead under mysterious circumstances in her rented room in Malviya Nagar area in South Delhi. The 21-year-old was lying on a blood soaked bed.
August 2013: Three North-East students from Delhi University, a research scholar and two undergraduate students were allegedly thrashed by locals in a north-Delhi colony.
Here are some of the reactions in Twitter coming in after Nido Taniam was beaten to death on Wednesday:
National Shame! Student from Arunachal lynched in Delhi after altercation. Delhi Police did not take action against guilt. #RIPNidoTaniam
— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) January 31, 2014
Very sad to know of the Arunachal P student's violent death.I pray that his parents find strength to bear such unnecessary,mindless loss . — Sisha (@wavehit) February 1, 2014
Y those terrorists who killed arunachal student were allowed to open a shop in first place
— D Singh (@dkrsingh6) February 1, 2014
— Jyoti Swaroop (@JyotiSwaroop2) February 1, 2014
The burning question abt the Arunachal student's death is this:WHY DID THE COPS DROP HIM BACK AT THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS FIRST ASSAULTED?
— Target Goa (@targetgoa) February 1, 2014