Living in the shadow of fear

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Living in the shadow of fear

The alleged attack on T Michael Lamjathang Haokip, a native of Manipur and a student of engineering, for not knowing the local language, has once again raised the spectre of racism in Namma Bengaluru.

 The community, as a whole, confess that they don’t feel safe in the City anymore. 

“This discrimination in the name of culture must be stopped and we must be made to feel safe here in the City,” says Rocky, a stylist. He adds, “Nobody has the right to beat up someone, however provocative the situation maybe.” Rocky thinks in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, it is not mandatory for people to know the local language. “I don’t feel it is safe to move around the City after dark. It is losing its ‘safe city’ tag,” he says. 

James, a banker who has been living in the City for the last 12 years, thinks otherwise. He feels people must stop playing up the issue of identity and language. “I have friends from all communities and have never felt unsafe here. Such incidents must stop at once. It is really unfortunate that a few people ruin the good image that the City has built over the years,” he observes. Most of the students from North-East don’t plan to live here for too long and come here only for their education.

 T Michael Lamjathang Haokip says, “I don’t believe in running away from what has happened. It is very unfortunate that this has happened to me. There are good and bad people but that doesn’t change my perception that Bangalore is a safe city.” Boyai from Manipur, who is a student of Indian Academy, confesses that he has been feeling very uncomfortable after the recent incident. “We come here to study only for three years, why should we learn the local language?

 Besides, the City has always been welcoming to people from other places. I don’t think anybody should be manhandled whatever the provocation,” he says. Lennon Paslein from Meghalaya, who is also a student, says he has always felt safe in the City. “I have a lot of friends here and I think how you get treated depends on how you interact with people and not because of other factors,” he signs off 

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