‘You have to know somebody here, to be taken seriously’ was the first piece of advice I heard when I had reached Delhi five years back. Needless to say, it had filled me with trepidation about this city, a chill that had refused to dissolve for quite some time. And then I simply forgot all about it, until today as I sit and write this post.
It shocked me to read about the death of Nido Taniam, an 18 year old student who has come from Arunachal Pradesh to study in Delhi (Nido Taniam Murder Case), who was allegedly beaten to death by some people with whom he had a tiff about his unique hairstyle. Sounds incredulous, right? Will you get killed because someone didn’t like your hairstyle? And this is happening in a modern day metropolis like Delhi, India’s capital city? The incident is horrific but true. And this is not the only one.
Two boys from Manipur were attacked on February 9, 2014; a 14 year old girl from Manipur was raped on Feb 9, 2014 (Manipuri girl raped in Delhi); and I guess there are countless incidents which are never reported.
North East India is defined by the seven states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, and Tripura. Like people from most of the hilly regions of North India, a vast number of the residents of these areas have distinct facial features, the reason why they are most often identified and ridiculed by a handful. Away from the superstitious and cultural shackles of North India, people from India’s North East are often friendly, gregarious, and prefer to dress in their unique style, mixing western wear with funky accessories. Yes, they do not dress in the so-called traditional clothes of India, but then again so doesn’t millions of young fashionable people staying in the throbbing modern cities of this country. And yet, it’s these young Indians from North East who bears the brunt of the jokes, and leers.
A year back it was the safety of women that had shattered the myth of Dilli dilwalon ki (Delhi is the city of the generous), when a 23yr old was brutally gang raped in a bus and then flung out on the pavement to die (Desperate in Delhi). And now it’s the people of North east bearing the violence. So much so that on February 11, 2014, the Delhi High Court has asked the city’s government to inform the court about the actions and policies that had been undertaken to prevent such instances of violence in future.
The court, taking suo motu cognizance, said, “Day after day, there are attacks on a particular section of the society. Have you looked into whether it is a deep-rooted conspiracy? What is the Delhi government’s stand on this issue? Almost 15 days have passed. Have you taken any step,” (Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/politics/delhi-hc-seeks-govts-reply-on-security-for-ne-people-1384467.html)
I love this city, and yet, this is not the city I know anymore. Such mindless violence had always been a part of this city, people bringing out weapons on petty issues have been reported sporadically. Why, the other day while waiting at the hospital, I saw a man walk in to the emergency room sporting a gun-shot wound and searching for a medic! Ok, so even I was shocked, but I also know in Delhi such things happen. But violence with a racial undertone, no I didn’t think it existed.
Well, I was wrong, it seems. It very well exists, and will continue to rot the fabric of our society until the authorities become stricter, I suppose. Until then, it’s your luck, my friend. So stay safe.