By Rajkumar Bobichand
Racial profiling and discrimination is something not always reflected in the statute and other documents of the powers that control peoples who belong to different races. But it is an experience of the people who are discriminated. It is the reflection of relationships between the people who are in powers or more powerful and the people upon whom the power is being exercised.
We know that racial profiling is a form of racism, like, consisting of the policy of policemen who stop and search vehicles driven by persons belonging to particular racial groups vis-à-vis racial discrimination is a discriminatory or abusive behaviour of members of a race towards members of another race.
The issue of racial profiling and discrimination of students and people from Manipur in particular and the Northeast in general has reached its India-wide attention of both media and the powers that be in New Delhi after the all-out protests over the beating of a Manipuri student in Bangalore to death and the death of a girl student from Meghalaya who was studying MBA at Amity University.
There have been a number of reports about the mass exodus of students seeking higher studies and educated youth from the region primarily because of unemployment had been repeatedly hounded in the metropolitan cities and other places in mainland India. A number of students return with experiences of racial profiling and discrimination. Hundreds of rape cases involving Northeast girls are happening on a regular basis right on his doorstep at New Delhi. How the people of Mainland India look towards the people from the Northeast who looks a bit oriental or Southeast Asian is well known to them and the people from the Northeast have been experiencing it for many years. It is well known that they call the people from the Northeast as Chinkee because the Northeast is racially, culturally, linguistically, historically and physically very distinct from the mainland India. In their mindset people from the Northeast is not considered as Indian as there has not been an established oneness between the people of the Northeast and the rest of India. And always look down upon the people of the Northeast.
This is once again confirmed from what the Home Minister of India said, in a reply to Mr Arun Jaitly’s call attention of the Home Minister towards the racial profiling and discrimination against the students of Northeast who go to different parts of India, that the centre accorded highest importance to the development of the Northeastern region as well as prevention of atrocities against the Scheduled Tribes as if all the peoples of the Northeast are all tribes. As India’s Rural Minister, Ms Agatha Sangma who hails from the Northeast said that South India is very different from North India, but no south Indian in Delhi would be made to feel he does not look Indian, we cannot observe such obvious attitude and behaviour of the people of north India towards south Indians. There was an order or guidelines from Delhi police particularly for the people from the Northeast how to dress and behave in New Delhi to avoid molestation, rape and other atrocities towards the people of Northeast. If these are not racial profiling and discrimination, what is it?
The perpetrators will always say that there is no any racial profiling and discrimination. Racial profiling and discrimination is to treat differently a person or group of people based on their racial origins. Power is a necessary precondition, for it depends on the ability to give or withhold social benefits, facilities, services, opportunities etc., from someone who should be entitled to them, and are denied on the basis of race, colour or national origin.
The racial profiling and discrimination is about the mindset of the people who are in power over the other race. The attitude of racial profiling and discrimination turns out as their behaviour, thereby raping and killing of the innocent girls and young women from the Northeast. They insult the people from the Northeast openly in public places in most parts and major cities of India. These are embedded in the relationship of the two distinct groups of people. How many times, how many innocent students from the Northeast will continue to die in the hands of the people in India’s major cities including metropolitans? How many innocent girls and young women who are studying and working outside the Northeast continue to be victims of rape by the people from mainland India? How long will the students and people of this part of the globe continue to protest and demand justice. This is the time to rethink about the relations between the people of the Northeast and the mainland India and act accordingly so that the people of the Northeast can live with dignity.