The intolerances of mainland people against North East

Jan 15, 2016 17:28
Tapir Gao, Binalaxmi Nepram, Alana Golmei & IK Muivah

The recent annual report of crime against North East people at New Delhi has caught the eyeballs of many. In an interview, various opinion leaders and social workers from North-eastern states have opined to fight against the racial attack on North-easterners by positive attitudes and northeasternisation of mainland people.

It is a matter of deep concern that crime against people of North East people is increasing in Delhi NCR in the past 1 (one) year with 1640 recorded cases.

As Delhi is the Capital City with immense studies and other job opportunities people continue to trickle in here from North East and sadly many have been trafficked here also, said Binalaxmi Nepram, Founder of Manipur Women Gun Survivor Network.

While commending Delhi Police for its initiatives to control crime against the people from the region, the Binalaxmi observed that, the people of North East “must stay alert, safe and have a safety network which we can keep in touch and support each other.

During an interview with Nelive the activist, who won the Real Hero Award- 2011, has also pointed out the need to put continuous pressure on Government of India to implement Bezbaruah Committee report – formed after the infamous killing of Nido Tania- to ensure rest of India how to understand, respect and treat people from North East as equal citizen of an equal country.

Until that happens groups like us will continue to remain vigilant and advocate for passing of an anti-racial law to end all these, she said.

North-Easternise the Mainland

National General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party, Tapir Gao, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh has the opinion to North-easternise the mainland people as a way to fight intolerance against North East people.

“We need to Indianised ourselves to fight against intolerance to North East by mainland people and at the same time we need to North-easternise the mainland people,” opined Tapir Gao.

When ask do the people of North-Eastern states to eat and dress like the mainland populace, the BJP National Leaders and former MP from Arunachal East constituency responded, “No! Eating, dressing, language etc are not only means but we should inculcate the sense of Indianness be from both sides to prevent from possible encounter of intolerance against the North-easterners in Indian metros.”

Difficult Mainland Mindset

Referring to the statistics of the crime against the North East people in Delhi, General Secretary of North East Support Centre and Helpline (NESCH), Alana Golmei told this reporter of that in this situation the best way for people from North East India is to be “cautious, alert and careful” while staying in Delhi.

“The crime reported by the Delhi Police will be only 50%, many cases still go unreported. Out of this 80% did not get justice, exemplary action must be taken against the accused by concerned authorities as well,” she said.

The New Delhi based-activist, who won the ALL (Assocham Ladies League) Grassroots Women of the Decade Award, also said that there are many components that need to be taken up. “But since it is difficult to change the mindset of the so called mainland people, North East people have to take care of themselves, the best is to be cautious, alert and careful”.

Towards Building Positive Image

IK Muivah (IPS), DIG (Range I), Manipur has appealed the North East Indian, who are living outside their home state, to live with purpose and in a healthy competitive spirit as it would give a positive image of North East peoples to other rest of the country.

“We are more western oriented and more fashion conscious. But dressing beyond moderation is to be avoided, and even we don’t need to eat and dress like the mainland, we especially female should avoid wearing shorts and cooking strong smelling North East food that may cause unnecessary misunderstanding. We can and should continue with our traditional or world variety cuisine,” said the IPS officer.

The DIG also sets out a list of DOs and DON’Ts for North East people in order to prevent untoward incidents and present the better outlook to the mainland.

  • We (North East people, who are staying in Indian metros) need to show some consideration for the culture prevalent in the respective city. Even female foreign tourists often cover up by wearing Salwar which reduces the unnecessary attention. The First Lady of US, Michelle Obama hit the headlines for not covering her hair while visiting Saudi Arabia along with his President husband, Barack Obama to pay their last respect to the departed king of the Arab country.
  • While staying outside the North Eastern states, normal food habit should be maintained and not include wild birds and animals especially dogs. Strong smelling fermented soybeans, fish and bamboo shoots can be eaten but should not disturb others with the strong smell which causes unnecessary misunderstanding and sometimes need to avoid cooking these popular recipes of North East people.
  • Avoid roaming and going for evening walks of boy and girl nonchalantly in the late evenings as that is often misunderstood as loose moral. Instead, students and working people from North East need to work hard and excel while reducing the party type culture shown by some Northeasterners, which tarnish the image of all.
  • Reducing carefree and careless living of some Northeast after reaching the metros, we need to live with purpose and healthy competitive spirit. It will give a positive image of North East peoples in metros such as Delhi.
  • There is a need for networking among the new comers and old residents so that they quickly adjust to metro life and have avenue to get advice and counselling. Old timers should guide the new comers to the city with Dos and Don’ts.
  • He also suggest the people from the region not to get provoked into fights easily but steer oneself away tactfully in a confrontation situation and use Delhi Police North East help line for getting his problem solved. They should all have handy numbers of emergency contact of friends and Delhi Police.
  • Be careful of being exploited by private employers and seek advice of NGOs and help of police.
  • It is common to be called “chinki” a derogatory word referring the North East people. However, one should not get easily provoked by sometimes deliberate and sometimes ignorant remark of “Nepali”or “chinki”. Just laugh it off with a bigger heart, or clarify who and where you are from politely or can report to police as there is a law (Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes- prevention of Atrocities Act) that penalise a person with five years jail team for calling Northeast persons as “chinki”. But do not lose temper and get into physical fight as you may then be attacked by a mob.
  • Some think that the region is all militant infested, violent, very backward, poor and only jungle. So, some positive central government sponsored infomercials need to be shown during prime time news in metros about the beautiful life in each North East states. Rest of the Indians should be made to see the beautiful culture, traditions, festivals and progress in various fields so that their mental perspective of North East people becomes positive.
  • A research need to be done on the general profile of offenders against North East people in metros as well as the general profile of the victims or complainants. In majority of the cases, it will be observed that violence against mongoloid people are made by mostly illiterate poor people from backward localities and villages in Delhi.

E.g. Munirka village near JNU which gives out relatively cheaper rent to students has seen its fair share of racist violence in the past. Also upon looking closer, it is the poorer less sophisticated section from North East states that comes into confrontation with the lumpen elements in Delhi besides women folks constituting a very vulnerable section with un-city wise life style continuing in the metros.


Wahengbam Rorrkychand    Imphal

Wahengbam Rorrkychand started his journalistic career with International Business Times (Indian Edition) and Hueiyen Lanpao English daily. He is a regular contributor at Imphal Times,, and He holds a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and PG Diploma in Human Resource Management from Kuvempu University, Karnataka.