A farcical sense of 'nationalism'

Discrimination

Every passing day, we face verbal racial abuses, especially in the market or public places. The only solution to this, as I believe, is to educate the people and to broaden their sense of ‘nationalism’.

As there is only a thin line between ‘nationalism’ and ‘xenophobia and sectarianism’, many a times people cross this line and this leads to unwanted incidents. The history of the Northeast should be included in the national curriculum to increase awareness about the region.”

Hailing from Manipur, Bhavan Meitei, a student of MA Development Studies, Ambedkar University unequivocally expresses a sentiment that is shared by the Northeastern community. In the wake of the recent incidents of violence, be it the death of the 20-year-old Nido Taniam, frequent discrimination and targeting or the latest khap-like diktat callling for ‘eviction’ of the members of the Northeastern community living in Munirka, the Capital needs to protect the tenuous link it shares with its
Northeastern inhabitants and fellow Indians.

The alleged khap panchayat or RWA (Resident Welfare Association) meeting last week that triggered the controversy could only be subdued following the intervention of the police. Although the matter has been quelled for the moment, a general feeling of apprehension persists among the targetted people. “This time around we didn’t leave any stone unturned to ensure security for the community,” says Chumbemo M Patton, a representative of ‘North East India Forum’, adding, “As a result, now everybody in Munirka village will need to have a rent agreement.

The onus for securing it would lie both with the landlord and tenant. In this way, landlords will not be able to exploit the people living in the locality by increasing rents on a whim.”

Buying his grocery for the day, Honbun, a call centre executive who has been living in Munirka since the last two years reflected on the prevalent situation, saying, “Things seem to have settled down a bit. Landlords seem to be on the backfoot for now, owing to the surge of reports in the media. Anyway, they held different views even during that meeting because a majority of Northeasterners live in this area. They could not possibly want to lose out on their business at once.” He adds, “The only thing that has changed is that the shops close down by 10:30 pm now.”

Over the chances of a backlash sometime down the line, Chumbemo emphasises, “Delhi Police has assured us of routine meetings with the residents to sort out such problems. In fact, the special helpline for Northeasteners: 1093, comes as a boon
in the wake of all these
racist incidents.”

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