Northeastern students tread cautious ground

Northeastern students tread cautious ground

Regional trouble

Northeastern students tread cautious ground

Difficult times have befallen students from the Northeast in Delhi. The threatening SMSes and mails, that triggered an exodus of Northeastern students from other parts of the country, have not left the Capital untouched.

Students here are now in a panic mode, some with their bags ready, clearly instructed by parents to retu­rn home at the first sign of any violence erupting.

Madhu Chandra, spok­e­s­person, North East Support Centre and Helpline, informs Metrolife, “There are about two lakh people from the North-east residing in Delhi currently.

Of these, 60 per cent are students staying in areas like Mukherjee Nagar, Gandhi Vihar, Nehru Vihar and Double Storey in North campus, and in Munirka, Khanpur, Moti Bagh, Safdarjung etc. near South campus.”

“All of them are very worried. We have assured them that since the areas they are staying in have a mixed population, chances of any untoward incidents occurring is very thin. However, it is immensely difficult to convince them and more so, their parents back home who are seeing all the mayhem on their television sets daily.”

Anujeema Saikia from      Assam, studying MA (Linguistics) at JNU, says, “My cousin, who was staying in Bangalore, has already left for Gujarat. He has also advised me to do the same but I have decided to stay back and see how the situation develops here in the days to come.”

“In the meantime, I and my North-eastern friends in Vijay Nagar (North Delhi) have decided to go out as infrequently as possible, avoid travelling at night and move in groups only.”

Khriebotsono Senyi of Meghalaya, a student of Geography Hons. at Miranda House (DU) adds, “Recently, one of my friends received a message asking North-easterners in Delhi specifically to leave as soon as possible. We have been in two minds about continuing here since then.”

“For now, I and my friends at the Rajiv Gandhi Girls’ Hostel (Indira Vihar) have resolved not to go shopping to places like Sarojini Nagar and Janpath as we used to earlier. We have also realized that we could probably adjust our dressing styles and not wear shorts or noodle-strap tops, for some time, so as to avoid attracting attention.”

Bikram Bora, a student of JNU and member of the Assamese Students’ Association of Delhi (ASAD) adds, “We have started mobilising our student members so as to be prepared for any eventuality. We want that no one should react violently. Everyone should stay calm and keep each other and the authorities informed. Precaution is always better.”

The elderly from the community in Delhi, though, are keeping their faith in the City. Dr. Alana Golmei of Manipur, an independent researcher who has been in Delhi for the past seven years now, says, “Delhi is not Mumbai, Hyderabad or Bangalore. It is very unlike them.

 There are no locals here, fighting for their space or culture. People from all parts of the country have settled in Delhi – Northeastern, Southern, Western etc., and all of us are Indians.

“All these young North-easterns who come to me seeking advice, I tell them, ‘Stay. Don’t go anywhere. This is the safest place you can be in. If you are not secure in Delhi, then you will probably not be safe anywhere in the country.’”