ATSUM urges PM to appoint brand ambassadors against racism
IMPHAL, 18th Apr: All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has appealed to the Prime Minister to appoint brand ambassadors against racism in view of rising cases of racial abuse at major cities amid the Coronavirus outbreak and misperception against the disease.
In a memorandum submitted to the PM on April 15, ATSUM observed that during this testing time where the whole world is fighting against the pandemic Covid-19, “our brethren from across the North East states of India residing in mainland India have been fighting the battle on two fronts”.
Many of people from the North East in mainland India are semi-skilled and unskilled workers relying on their monthly salaries to support themselves in the city. However, with the government imposing an inevitable nationwide lockdown their means for survival has been cut off. Respecting the protocols laid down by the Central and state governments, they have stayed back in the cities as dutiful citizens. But as the world fights the pandemic virus, they have been exposed to the virus of ‘racism’ more than they have been to the pandemic virus, it added.
ATSUM pointed out that back in the days before this pandemic, the words “Chinki” “Momo” were the slurs meted to people of the North East for their mongoloid looks but aftermath the nationwide lockdown, the anti-Chinese sarcasm, harassment and exploitation besides branding the North-East populace in metro cities as ‘Corona’ has gone beyond the level of tolerance.
The word “Corona” is the word that is being shouted to Northeastern people when they go out to buy essentials. Cases have come up in many cities especially in the capital and with lesser gravity in the south, it claimed. While adding it has always been a pride for India to coin the phrase “Unity in Diversity” for its multi-cultural ethos but in the current situation, people from the North East feel secluded from the rest of the Indian citizens and have failed to enjoy the serenity of life in metro cities in their own homes.
ATSUM expressed its apprehension that, had the lockdown not been in place, cases of physical assault and mental harassment would have been a much more common occurrence in workplaces.
The memorandum further lamented that it aches the heart of every North Eastern citizens to see the treatment meted to them by their fellow countrymen. And while the government is trying its best to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic measures should also be taken up in full force to root out the much more rampant virus of racism, it asserted. ATSUM appealed to the government to appoint brand ambassadors to fight against racism such as film stars who are revered as gods in the country. Appointing big names from the film industry as Ambassadors against Racism and intense campaign against Racism on the television would go a long way in creating awareness and taking out racism. It also asked for financial and essential aids to students and workers who have been let off. As many of the workers working in private sectors have been deemed redundant and let off by companies. Students are also struggling to get access to the basic essentials needed for survival. And while many help lines have been set up to aid the needs of the stranded workers and students, it has failed to reach the majority of the targeted people in distress.