BANGALORE, February 16: More than 200 riders of several bike-riding clubs and individual riders, vroomed on about 150 bikes cutting through the heart of the Bangalore city unequivocally condemning the racial discrimination, as part of the ‘Bikers Against Racial Discrimination’ ride under the aegis of Brotherhood of Bulleeters Motorcycling Consortium (BOBMC) today.
A statement issued by the organising committee of today’s rally, stated that several women riding the bikes, some really heavy machines, attracted the attention of onlookers.
It said that the rally had a long contingent of bikes from Royal Enfield, Honda, Duke and others. Thousands of pamphlets were distributed throughout the route of the rally to educate people about the event and the cause.
Placards with messages including ‘Racism is Wrong’, ‘Racism has no place in a democratic country`, `Friends Are Made by Heart, Not by Skin Colour`, `We, the riding family, won`t stand racial discrimination`, `Stop All Violence Against Northeast` and `We All Have Eyes, But to See Right, We Should Use Our Brains`, were displayed during the rally, it added.
It has been informed that a very diverse set of people in terms of race, religion, region, age, gender and language participated in the rally and large number of people from North-Eastern states and Caucasians took part in event.
The bike rally led by senior bikers like Prem Menon, Ajit Lakshmiratan, was flagged off from the Town Hall at 8.40 am and passed through Hudson Circle, Mission Road, Lalbagh Road, RV Road, Nanda Theatre Road, JP Nagar, BTM Layout, Silk Board, Outer Ring Road and culminated at the BDA Complex in HSR Layout at 10 am.
Ajit Lakshmiratan, a Biker from 50+ Bulleteers said: “We are very much concerned about the racial discrimination prevalent. It is a blot on our society and we condemn it. We as a responsible biking community and express our solidarity with North East brothers and sisters,” it said.
Moreover, Professor Rini Ralte from Mizoram, who made Garden City her home, addressed the bikers saying that “Racial Discrimination is a violence faced by us every day in Bangalore and in other cities. The recent exodus of thousands of North East people from Bangalore indicates the kind of constant fear we live under. Ours is a struggle against discrimination, ours is a struggle for justice and peace.”
Human Rights activist Manohar Elavarthi from Praja Rajakiya Vedike appreciated the efforts of the biking community in fighting against racism while demanding that Police should be sensitized on the issues of North East people at the same time, to recruit people from the region into Karnataka police force to make it racially diverse.
He also appealed to the bikers to continue this long struggle to change people’s attitudes and to bring lasting changes against racism.
It further mentioned that Bishwajit Singh Rajkumar, a biker from Manipur said: “As a biker, I have never faced any racial discrimination inside the biking community. I am proud to be part of this community and want the larger society to emulate our biking community and learn to accept the people who are different from you. If you want to understand people, you should visit their places and meet them; spend time with them. Then only one will start to understand that they are as beautiful as you.”
The statement further quoted that Ringo Pebam, a biker from Manipur, who works in this city saying that “North East people face insults, harassment, sexual harassment, physical violence and humiliation on a daily basis. People here know very little about North East people, our history, culture, food habits, languages; people don’t know that India is home to people of different races. We demand changes in school and college curricula to include information about North East so that all Indians are aware about us. The government should conduct a large scale public education about North East people through mass media and it is their responsibility”.