*Unite Against Racism, Racist Violence and Vigilantism!!*
*Join the Protest March from Delhi University Metro Station to Mukherjee
Nagar on 3rd February (Monday) at 5 pm*
By Soibam Haripriya
In a horrific episode of hate crime, Nido Taniam, a young student from Arunachal Pradesh was beaten to death on Wednesday at Lajpat Nagar in Southeast Delhi. Nido and his friends stepped into a shop to enquire about a house address that they were trying to locate. The shopkeeper and a few others made some obscene remarks on his blonde hair and “racial feature”. It led to a scuffle. The police picked up the Nido and later dropped him back in the same locality. After that the shopkeeper and his friends beat him up again. He lost his life on Thursday.
Just couple of weeks ago, Delhi Law Minister led a vigilante mob on the premises of four African women on 17th January 2014 residing in Khirki village, New Delhi. The women were accused by the mob of being involved in drug peddling and `sex trade`; and were terrorized by the mob. Two of them have stated that they were physically assaulted by the mob and were also subjected to intense racist abuse – “black people break laws.” Media reports also indicate that for the purpose of collecting their urine samples, one of them was forced to urinate in public. To add to this abuse and trauma, they were also subjected to not only body search but humiliating invasive physical searches of their private parts.
Despite these horrific incidents, most people still insists that racism is not a serious issue in Delhi. The murder of Nido Taniam and the vigilante assault on the African women in Khirki village are not aberrations like many would like to believe. People from Northeast India and from African face racism everyday in this city, often subtle forms racism but many a times explicit and brutal form of racism.
Not only is there a pressing need to talk about explicit racism but also to recognise the subtler ways in which our underlying prejudices reveal themselves. The fact remains that racism is not an issue of individuals and circumstances but is structural and is institutionalized into the very fabric of our society.
As of now racism is not even recognized as a problem. The attitude towards people from Northeast and Africa is so normalised and commonplace that the idea of racism as a manifestation of unacceptable bias, prejudice and discrimination is alien. The demand that the Government and the larger society awakens to this issue and takes into consideration the rampant racism which is rooted in spaces all around us is a basic but an essential one. The fact that we have to even demand this basic minimum only goes to show the abysmal degree of neglect.