The Great Disappointment: Racial Discrimination in India

As we battle to recover back from our lost and dismay over the disheartening news of  a 21-year-old Reingamphy Awungshi who was found dead under mysterious circumstances lying in a blood-soaked bed in her rented ground floor room in B-Block, Chirag Dilli in South Delhi on May 29.

What had also severely shocked most of us in this difficult time, is the apathy of Delhi Police refusal to let the victim’s relatives lodge an FIR complaint for two days.  Instead they chose to pressed upon them to take away the mortal remains of the deceased from the mortuary at the AIIMS, where the post mortem have been held.

From 12 noon yesterday, hundreds gathered at Malviya Nagar Police Station, New Delhi without food and standing in the  scorching summer heat, demanding to lodge a police compliant.

“Preliminary autopsy report rule out that she was rape and murder, but the police were reluctant to lodge an FIR”, stated Mr Thothuingam Shinglai, President of Tangkhul Katamnao Long Delhi (TKLD), a Tangkhul Community Welfare Association based in Delhi.

Delhi Police’s investigating officer Dinesh Singh had stated Prima facie it appears to be a case of suicide and the nature of wounds suggests that a portion of body may have been eaten up by rats.  The police’s assumption is based on empty wrappers of Spasmocip Plus (16 tablets) and Meftal-Spas (12 tablets) found in the dustbin in the victim’s room.

An online social justice campaign group – Exposing India had counter-attack  against the defaming statement made by Delhi  Police officials;

» Landlord’s brother-in-law has been stalking Reingamphi Awungshi.
» Landlord’s brother-in-law told Awungshi to not worry about her rent.
» Landlord’s brother-in-law repeatedly invited her to his room.
» Police failed to notice that back door of Reingamphy’s room was open.
» Broken nose, injuries on her eyes, toes and blood spread around her neck and face.
» Wound on Reingamphy’s bare feet and she was holding her mobile phone.
» Police victimized the victim as ‘loose women’ and not even registered an FIR.
» Police passed Racist comment by saying that girls from NorthEast work in spas and that’s why these incidents take place.

The police’s prejudice in handling Awungshi’s death probe strikes a lot of similarity with that case of Loitam Richard who was found dead under mysterious circumstances lying in a pool of blood in his bed in Bangalore last year. Despite heavy protest and demand for justice across the country, with strong evidences to suggest that the deceased suffered multiple assaults on the head and face which was backed by the preliminary post-mortem report that indicated serious bleeding in the brain. His justice is still pending despite even making an appeal to the Prime Minister’s office.

Authorities tried defaming and covering up the crime by linking Richard’s death to drug abuse, and an injury sustained during a road traffic accident a few days before the incident.  Here again, the case of Ms Reingamphy Awungshi who came to Dellhi from Ukhrul district in Manipur a year ago, is linked to drug abuse.

(Hundreds of people from Northeast India protested against Delhi Police's refusal of lodging an FIR of Late Ms. Reingamphy Awungshi at Malviya Nagar Police Station, New Delhi on Friday. Image Courtesy:

(Hundreds of people from Northeast India protested against Delhi Police’s refusal of lodging an FIR of Late Ms. Reingamphy Awungshi at Malviya Nagar Police Station, New Delhi on Friday. Image Courtesy:

Such discriminatory attitude and stereotypes made by the law keepers towards the people of Northeast origins should be taken a little more seriously and the truth needs to come out or else justice will become a mockery.

What if tomorrow the landlords in Delhi/NCR  say that Northeast people are drug users and have committed suicide while covering up their own ill-fated deeds? Will that justified the loss of innocent lives without any proper investigation?

Why is that none of the Northeastern victims has ever saw the daylight of justice in Delhi/NCR till date? Does it mean that the issues of racial discrimination, harassment and violence faced by people of Northeast origins, still deserve to be silent or ignored?

Due to such apathy nature, It found that the majority of northeastern people residing in Delhi/NCR who have face racial discrimination – did not report it to police because they have no confidence or faith in the justice system carried out by Delhi police or the courts. So many cases goes unreported, according to a survey conducted by Stop Discriminating People From North-East India,  a social campaign forum page that echoes what advocates have been saying for years.

In an attempt to rescue and protect the citizens of North-east India in the nation’s capital, Delhi Police has launched its own branch — Delhi Police For North East (DPFNE) earlier this year.

There is no denying that Northeast people face harassment and discrimination almost every day. Our women are subject to frequently sexual assaults. Some of our fellow citizens continue to verbally abuse and stereotype us by calling us “Chinky”, “Nepali”, “Bahadur”, “Chinese” and various other slurs have become a daily occurrence. Many Indians are hypersensitive to any perceived (real or imaginary) racial slur they may receive outside India. However within India, the same people remain largely oblivious to the far more frequent and intense racial insults, harassment and violence heaped on India’s citizens from north-east India.

Each day we suffer and each day we wonder why we are made to feel as “foreigners” in our own nation. Is this what we would like to call “home sweet home”?

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