Guwahati: Amid several reports of racial abuse towards Northeast Indians in the aftermath of the China-originating coronavirus, All Assam Students' Union (AASU) leader Samujjal Bhattacharya has said that
"The Northeast Students' organization or NESO is always raising this issue. This time also we have seen the same situation and so, on behalf of the NESO we have written a letter to the honorable Prime Minister of this country", Bhattacharya told The Sentinel Digital in an exclusive interaction.
Bhattacharya also informed that the members of the apex student body have approached the leaders of the Northeast Indian states to ensure that the students who are staying outside do not face any kind of discrimination and taunts.
Stating that the alleged racism is not "healthy" for the Northeast Indian youths, Bhattacharya added, "The Government should take appropriate initiative and steps so that no students from the Northeast feel insecure in other parts of the country." He also said that the Northeast Indian leaders should pressurize the Centre and force its hand in regards to this issue.
The student leader also added that the NESO is "determined" and "committed" for the protection of the student community and the youths who are working in other parts of the country.
The Genesis of a Problem:
It is pertinent to mention here that there have been several alleged attacks against the Northeast Indian citizens who are staying in mainland India in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. If these reports are to be believed, the term "corona" is being used as a taught against those bearing mongoloid features. In several instances, people from Northeast India have been subjected to extreme humiliation for their looks, and many have alleged institutional racism as a reason behind the verbal and at times, physical attacks.
In a report released on March 26, by RRAG (Right and Risks Analysis Group) states that in the aftermath of COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a massive and unprecedented upsurge of acts of racism and racial discrimination against people from the North East settled, working and studying across the length and breadth of the country. The report cites 22 reported cases of racial discrimination or hate crimes from February 7, 2020, to March 25, 2020. The report claims that since there are no laws against racial discrimination in India, the police are usually at a loss which sections or which laws to invoke given the legal vacuum against acts of racism and racial discrimination.