NE CMs, student body concerned over racial bias

 IANS

AIZAWL/SHILLONG, 31st Mar: When the country is in all-out war against COVID-19, Chief Ministers of north-eastern states and North East Students' Organisation have raised serious concern over the alleged incidents of racial discrimination in different parts of the country against the people of the region, officials said on Tuesday.

An official in Aizawl said that Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Monday urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to take action against those who are racially attacking and harassing people from the northeast region. Zoramthanga in a social media post said: "I am pained, shocked and in my worst awe seeing a video ... when the humanity stooped so low."

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also expressed his concern over the incidents of racial discriminations. He wrote on Facebook, "In connection with an incident that took place in Mysore, I spoke with the Lok Sabha member of Mysuru Pratap Simha. He assured to look into the matter. Simha informed me that an FIR was filed with the police and two people were arrested in connection with the incident."

The two Chief Ministers' statements came after two engineering students from Nagaland, studying at a college in Mysuru, were denied entry at the grocery store earlier this week, after a staff of the store reportedly insisted that they were Chinese nationals.

In a bid to deal with the racism against mongoloid-looking northeast India people in the wake of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Nagaland government has set up helpline numbers for Nagas who might be subjected to such acts of racism. 

Nagaland Chief Secretary, Temjen Toy, taking to social media, said, "any Naga facing any kind of racial discrimination and harassment in other states may send mails to him or can contact the officials of his office".

The North East Students' Organisation (NESO), a conglomerate body of eight student and youth organizations of seven north-eastern states, also strongly condemned the "recurring incidences of violence and discrimination due to physical appearance meted out to the indigenous people from the north eastern states who are studying and working in different cities and parts of mainland India". Instances of racial discrimination against the people of northeast India were reported in quite a few parts of the country due to their Chinese or Mongoloid look in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. On March 22, a girl from Manipur was in a spat with a 40-year-old man in Delhi's Vijaynagar area after she was called by the man as "coronavirus". Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju in a tweet had condemned the alleged racial discrimination being faced by the people of northeast region. NESO Chairman Samuel B Jyrwa and General Secretary Sinam Prakash Singh in a joint statement said that reports of violent attacks and racial discrimination against the students and public from the region has been on the rise from various parts of mainland India after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. 

The NESO appealed to the central government to put in place all necessary arrangements in order to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of the northeast community.


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