Guwahati: As the nation faces the imminent rise in COVID-19 cases, the racist attacks against people belonging from the North-eastern part of India are still coming to the fore.
In one such incident which occurred on Monday night (May 11, 12:20 am) six girls who worked in the hospitality department in Bangalore, were asked to vacate their premises by police officials and that too right after a man from their neighbourhood infringed on their private space by forcibly entering the house to taking videos.
The girls had just shifted to a new room as they were forced out of their earlier apartment. This after the company they were working for refused to pay rent. A mutual friend of one of the girls helped them find a new place to stay.
Things already took a turn for the worse when some of the neighbours of the apartment they had shifted to warned them not to go outside due to their “Chinese looks” and that some other neighbours might feel angry. Helpless and out of their place the girls had no choice but to adhere to these norms and sent only one girl who belongs from a Bengali community from Assam (hence the “non-Chinese” look) to buy groceries.
One of the girls took to Facebook to highlight their ordeal, “It was 12:20 am on 11/5/2020 almost all of us are asleep, we started hearing someone knocking the door, we felt scared and stared through the window and saw police officials. They suspected that we were suffering from Corona,” stated in a post by one of the girls. However, the nightmare did not just end there as a man came inside the house where some of the girls were still dressing up took videos as a “proof.” The police officials also asked them to vacate the room and said to go back to their old rooms. “Police start beating the person who knows our friend who referred us to the room. Police even call house owner and start asking questions and scolding him, they even beat him,” the post continued.
After the police had left the same man came to the room, took yet another video asking the girls to introduce themselves and threatened the girls to vacate the place and save themselves.
However, help did arrive, and that too in the form of Shobha Karandlaje, MP in the Lok Sabha from Udupi Chikmagalur and general secretary of Karnataka BJP. The MP visited the place of the girls the very next day and demanded stringent action against those who harassed the six girls from Northeast. In her tweet, she stated, “Visited our NE Sisters along with PI Sri Jagadeesh, assured them of their protection & every needed help. Those who harassed our sisters have been arrested by police, strict action will be taken against every1 who attacks our NE people. We are all with our people of North East.”
Meanwhile, her efforts were lauded by chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu and India’s sports minister Kiren Rijiju.
The racism which is simply based on one’s physical appearance was already prevalent in various parts of India. However, the rise of COVID-19 cases with the mentality of it being a “Chinese disease” has brought more such cases to the fore. However, strict and timely interventions as such act as the only way to beat this disheartening act of racism.