Racist attacks on the rise: Frightened North-East migrants ponder return to home states as Delhi violence worsens  

The Capital's latest ferment over racist attacks against those from the North-east is beginning to boil over into a Quit Delhi movement.

Citizens from the seven North-east states living and working in Delhi say that recent spike in violent incidents against them has compounded the racial abuse they face constantly to the extent that going back to their states now looks like a good choice.

The families of many of these youngsters living in Delhi have been asking them to return.

Students from the North-East prefer
to live in areas such as Kotla Mubarakpur (above) and Munirka because of cheaper accommodation

Students from the North-East prefer to live in areas such as Kotla Mubarakpur (above) and Munirka because of cheaper accommodation

"While racism is nothing new, the situation seems to be getting worse with each passing day. I have been interacting with a lot of students from the Northeast and while they have been mulling returning home, it is their parents who seem to be frantically worried. So many of them have been calling their children back, asking them to leave their jobs or studies and just return home to safety," said Tapan Doni, a resident of Arunachal Pradesh.

Donis is the chairperson of the recently-constituted Northeast Joint Committee, which has been demanding justice for Nido Tania, the 19-year-old killed in an apparently racially motivated attack.

"We are doing what we can, trying to remain cautious and alert, sticking together for we know that even the police cannot put an end to such behaviour overnight," said Doni.

"Delhi has never really been perceived as a safe place for anybody, yet one comes here seeking a better life and hoping to overcome this fear. Recent incidents of violence against people from the North-east have, however, taken this fear to another level. Most my friends and I are very worried and are contemplating going back home," said Rimi Awangshi.

The 26-year-old, who works in a BPO firm in Gurgaon, has been living in the Kotla Mubarakpur area of South Delhi for three years now.



"Sometimes when I am waiting for my office cab late at night, locals gawk at me. And this when I am very conservatively dressed. Some of my friends have faced worse things. They have been sneered at, men have walked up to them to check if they are prostitutes," Awangshi said.

"The locals probably think we are not Indians because we look different. Or, they probably think that since we are all by ourselves here, without any family to take care of us, we are weak. Hence, they can get away with making remarks at us or even attacking us physically," said Chon Konghay, 24.

Konghay and her husband, both from Manipur, run a convenience store in the Kotla Mubarakpur area. North-easterners say that considering that they "look in a particular manner and speak with an accent", everyday living in Delhi can be a gruelling experience.

"The locals believe we drink all the time, return home late at night, have casual sex, and hence landlords have a right to throw us out at their whim. The autowallahs think we are outsiders and hence can be overcharged, shopkeepers and local youngsters can abuse us. It is a never-ending nightmare," said Diganta Lahon, 24, from Assam.

"Most of the times, we ignore such behaviour for lack of a better choice," he said.


Delhi's racism is not the preserve of a particular neighbourhood or area, but runs rampant across the Capital. In an attempt at securing camaraderie, safety, and out of economic compulsions, Northeasterners living in Delhi have gravitated to ghettoisation, primarily in South and North Delhi areas like Munirka, Kotla Mubarakpur, Satya Niketan, Chirag Dilli and Outram Lines.

These areas are conveniently close to most of their workplaces and colleges, rentals are cheap - a single room set (with a bathroom and a kitchenette) costs between Rs 4,000 and 6,000 per month.

Extreme physical and sexual assaults are more common than the most pessimistic estimate.

"In November last year, about four local men accosted me right here in this street. It was around 1.30am and I was returning home. They assaulted me and asked for money. I said I didn't have any and just gave them my mobile phone. Then, just last week two of my female friends were assaulted at the end of this street. The matter was reported in the media but nothing has changed on the ground. The locals don't fear anything and believe they can get away with such behaviour," said Michael M, a resident of Munirka.

Talking about the kinds of comments passed on them, students in Delhi University's North Campus said that people have come to accept their food items like momos and noodles but have not accepted the people.

"It is like you love to eat momos which are our staple diet but you hate us. Again, you call us names that are our food items. What if we call you gobi-paratha because you eat it?" said Leeyir from Arunachal Pradesh.

Another Manipur youth attacked

By Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi

In yet another incident of attack on people from the North-East, a 22-year-old youth from Manipur was stabbed and robbed by five assailants in South Delhi's Mehrauli area in the wee hours on Tuesday. The police have apprehended four juveniles in the case.

One of the juveniles stabbed the victim, identified as Khupsiangen, when he was returning to his Paryavaran Complex home at Saidulajab in Mehrauli from his office, which is around 500 metres away.

Khupsiangen underwent an abdominal surgery and his condition is said to be stable, police said.

The victim is recuperating at the Saket
City Hospital

The victim is recuperating at the Saket City Hospital

Khupsiangen works for a non-government organisation, New Generation, and has been living in Delhi for the last four years. He was in his office till early morning to attend some congregation.

"When he was barely 200 metres away from his home, around five assailants stopped his way at the local vegetable market and tried to rob him of his valuables, including mobile phone. Khupsiangen resisted but one of the juveniles stabbed him and robbed his phone and wallet," deputy commissioner of police (South) B.S. Jaiswal.

The officer said it is a case of robbery and the attack was not racially motivated. "One more accused is on the run," said Jaiswal. "Doctors said he is out of danger," the officer added.

Even after being injured, Khupsiangen managed to reach his flat where he sought help from security guard Prem Singh, who informed his friend on phone. His friend along with some of his other associates rushed at the housing complex from the congregation and took him victim to Saket City Hospital.

The hospital in a statement said: "He was brought with stab wounds in lower chest and abdomen. He underwent an abdominal surgery which was performed successfully. The patient continues to be under intensive care monitoring."

A case under sections 307 (attempt to murder) 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) and 397 (robbery) of the IPC have been registered.


A 22-year-old man has been arrested and two juveniles apprehended for beating two Manipuri youths in South-East Delhi's Ambedkar Nagar, police said on Tuesday.

The accused identified as Ritesh was produced before Patiala House Court and sent to judicial custody. The juveniles - aged about 15 - were produced before a Juvenile Justice Board and sent to Adharshila Observation Home for Boys in North-West Delhi's Kingsway Camp.

According to the police, N. Gin Khan Suan and his cousin brother N. Vungh Suan Mung were returning home from the local market at Madangir when they were attacked. - Mail Today in New Delhi

CBI probe in Nido case after family meets Rahul

By Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi

Nido Tania's family met Rahul Gandhi
and demanded speedy justice for their son

Nido Tania's family met Rahul Gandhi and demanded speedy justice for their son

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi seems to be the biggest reason behind the speedy investigation into attack on people from North-East in the Capital.

Every time the NE protesters have met the leader and shared their woes, prompt action has been taken by the police department and home ministry.

In the latest move, the Centre transferred the Nido Tania murder case from the Delhi Police to the CBI after family members of the Arunachal student met Rahul and demanded speedy justice for their son and strict punishment for the perpetrators.

Tania's family also met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the Capital.

"The family wants that the investigation be conducted by the CBI. So, we have decided to hand over the case to the CBI," Shinde told reporters after the meeting.

The minister assured the family that justice will be done and the guilty will be punished. Congress MLA and Tania's father Nido Pavitra also spoke to the media about the meeting that took place at Shinde's office in North Block.

"The Home minister gave us a patient hearing. We also requested him to do the needful to ensure security of people from the North-East living in different parts of the country," Pavitra said.

Pavitra and his family were accompanied by Congress MP from Arunachal Pradesh Takam Sanjoy. The Congress MP said they had requested Rahul to ensure that stringent punishment is meted out to police personnel responsible for the youth's death.

Meanwhile, one more accused - identified as Sunny Uppal - was arrested on Monday for his involvement in the assault on Nido. The arrest comes after the postmortem and viscera reports confirmed death due to injuries.

So far, four persons have been arrested, while two juveniles apprehended and sent to an observation home.

The Delhi Police had swung into action in the case after Rahul Gandhi reached at Jantar Mantar on February 3 to address the candlelight protest carried out by North-East activists and students.

Government helpless over attacks

The Delhi government on Tuesday expressed its helplessness before the Delhi High Court in ensuring the safety of the people from the North-East residing in the Capital, saying it cannot do much as the Centre controls the police.

"As far as policing is concerned, it is with the Centre and hence, we cannot do much," the government counsel told a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, which is likely to issue certain directions on Wednesday on issues related to the safety and security of North-East residents.

The lawyers representing the Delhi government, police, Union home ministry and North-East residents also advanced their submissions on various queries posed by the bench on the issue.

It also asked the home ministry and Delhi Police to conduct special recruitment drive to induct North-East people in its fold so that they feel safe and secure in the Capital. -Mail Today in New Delhi