Guwahati lit candles demanding justice

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GUWAHATI, May 3 (ANI): Hundreds of irate and aggrieved students lit candles and marched through the streets of Guwahati in Assam state on Wednesday to protest over the suspicious death of a northeast student, Dana Silva Sangma.

Sangma, 23, was a post-graduate management student at the privately run Amity University in Manesar, Haryana. She was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her hostel room on April 24.

According to college authorities, Sangma was caught using a cellphone during an examination, due to which she was debarred from the examination.

However, Sangma`s friends revealed she was allegedly insulted and verbally abused by the invigilator, in the presence of other students. Unable to bear the torrent of humiliation, she hung herself inside her hostel room.

Urging the college authorities to come clean over the incident, scores of teary-eyed activists held an emotional yet peaceful protest as they hoped to get justice for the victim`s family.

“The whole incident, the way it has come out is really murky right now and the whole truth behind the incident is yet to come out and our push, our main goal, why we are here today is also for the truth in the incident to come out and also to bring out stringent follow-up of this whole incident,” said Salsan Toyo Momin, a student protestor.

Though college authorities and police called it a case of suicide, Sangma`s supporters maintained her death was a result of racial profiling and blatant discrimination.

Extending solidarity with Sangma, the protesters lit candles in her memory, even as the flames of uproar and outrage over the tragedy ignited strong demands for justice and retribution among the gathered crowds.

“Definitely, I`ll say that racial discrimination is there, mindset is there, actually the people of the northern India, they don`t think that people of Assam and northeastern region are the mainstream population of India, that is their mindset. So racial discrimination is there and these types of things are happening,” said Monij Goswami, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP).

In the past, several noted academics and sociologists actively connected with northeast India have repeatedly argued that there is an acute lack of awareness among majority of Indians about the region, which for many still evokes an image of mystery.

Northeast India comprises seven states, namely Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur. Together, the region borders China, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Despite its strategic and cultural significance, successive governments have neglected the region, and the problems and issues faced by its people still struggle to find a platform in national politics.

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