Malicious Mainland

By Ninglun Hanghal

People from the North-east continue to feel unsafe in Delhi and other metropolises despite the Centre’s assurance to provide them helplines. This month alone three incidents took place.  An engineering student from Manipur and two friends were beaten up in Bangalore for not speaking Kannada. Two students from Nagaland were assaulted in Gurgaon. A girl from Mizoram was found dead in her rented Munirka room under mysterious circumstances.

Here is a list of incidents in the national capital over the years, drawn from media reports:
On 8 May 2005, a 20-year-old Delhi University student and her friend were abducted from Daula Kuan (South Delhi). While her friend escaped, she was gang-raped in a moving car by four men. Only one person, Ajit Singh Katiyar, was arrested. He was sentenced to 14 years’  rigorous imprisonment  in December 2009.  The defence counsel is said to have  challenged the order in a higher court.

On 24 November 2010, a 30-year-old BPO employee and her friend were abducted at gun point on their way home in Moti Bagh, South Delhi. While her friend escaped and alerted the girl’s relatives, the victim was gang-raped by five men in a truck. The court reportedly ordered payment of Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation for the survivor in May 2014. A Delhi court sentenced the five men to life imprisonment. Except these two cases in which the accused were punished, many others are pending.
In the wee hours of 3 December 2008, the landlord and his men knocked on the door of the room rented by two women from Manipur, asking them to pay rent. This happened in Sikenderpur, Gurgaon (NCR). Their plea that payment would be made early the next morning was of no avail. The landlord broke into the room, abused and assaulted them. Somehow the two managed to ring up their friends who lived nearly and they came to their rescue. The status of the case is not known.
 On 17 April 2009, a six-year-old girl from Manipur was allegedly raped and murdered at Mahipalpur, South Delhi. At noon, she was said to have gone to the terrace of their rented house to dry clothes. When she did not return her mother went up to look for her. After more than half an hour’s search, the mother found her daughter’s body inside the water tank of an adjacent building. The body was sent to Spinal Injury Centre, Vasantkunj, where it was confirmed that she had been raped and murdered. The case is pending.
On 4 October 2009, around 11.20 pm, 19-year-old Ramchanphy Hongray  from Manipur was raped and murdered in her sister’s rented room in Munirka, Delhi. She had come to visit her sister and when the latter had left for work, Pushpa Kumar, an IIT student, forced his way into her room and allegedly raped and murdered her.
To make it look like a case of suicide, he reportedly poured kerosene over her body and set it on fire. In July 2010, the court framed charges against the accused for murder and tampering with the evidence. The case is  pending.
 On 29 May 2013, a 21-year-old beautician from Manipur was found dead under  mysterious  circumstances in her rented flat at Delhi’s Chirag. No one was arrested. The case was handed over to the CBI following strong protests.
o In January 2014, teenaged student Nido Tania from Arunachal succumbed to injuries after being beaten up by some shopkeepers of Lajpat Nagar. Nido had gone to the area with three friends and was looking for an address when someone at a sweet shop began mocking his hairstyle. Nido responded by breaking a glass door of the sweetshop. Twenty-two-year-old Farman, 27-year-old Akram and 27-year-old Pawan were booked. In May, the CBI dropped charges of murder, saying the accused had no intention of killing him. The status of the case is not known.
 In February 2014, two women from Manipur, Chonmila and Jajo, were assaulted and abused by a group of youths in South Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur area. According to complaints by the two women, when one of the culprits tied the leash of his dog to Chonmila’s boots, she panicked and in a bid to free herself she kicked the dog. Seeing this, the men started beating her up. When Jajo tried to intervene, she too was  thrashed by the men who allegedly passed racist comments. There are no reports of any arrest and the case is pending.
 On 7 February 2004, a 14-year-old girl from Manipur was raped by her landlord’s son in South Delhi’s Munirka. It was reported that when she  was making some purchases the culprit — Vicky — allegedly accosted her and forced her to a nearby room and raped her. The girl is said to have received compensation but it is not known whether the culprit has been booked.
 On 22 May 2004 at 10 pm, when a woman from Nagaland was returning home after alighting at Vishwavidyalaya Metro station, a man followed her, passed lewed remarks, caught her and started molesting her near Delhi University.  When she resisted she was slapped. Some passers-by overpowered the molester and handed him over to the police. At the police station, it was revealed that he was a lawyer from Tis Hazari Courts.
The next day, some NE students accompanied the woman to the Tis Hazari Court to record her statement. But they were attacked by a group of lawyers. Naga Students’ Union president Maivio J Woba, Zeliangrong Students’ Union president Rachubui Pamei and advocate Liyi were assaulted. The matter is yet to be placed in the court.
 On 30 June 2014, a woman entrepreneur living in Gurgaon was harassed and intimidated by a man who identified himself as a RAW official. He allegedly barged into her room, interrogated and accused her of indulging in anti- social activities.  The status of the case is not known.
 On 5 -6 July 2014, 28-year-old Wilungbou Chawang was found dead in the Chirag Dilli area. The body was fished out from a nullah after locals reported the matter to the police. His younger brother filed a complaint at the Malviya Nagar police station. Investigation is yet to begin.
 On 21 July 2014, a Manipuri youth was beaten to death by a group of youths in South Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur area.
Incidents in other cities include:
 On the evening of 13 August 2005 in Mumbai, a man attacked two girls from Manipur while they were taking pictures and feeding pigeons at the Gateway of India. Twenty-three-year-old Leishichon died on the spot while her friend Ngahuimi Raleng was severely injured. According to the police, the attacker, 27-year-old Juner Patel, was mentally unstable. The Maharashtra government reportedly paid compensation to the victim’s family.
 In October 2010, the Goa police rescued 11 Naga and Mizo girls from a beauty parlour at Povorim, alleging that the owner of the parlour was running a flesh trade. According to the police, the case came to light after the girls fled the parlour and informed their parents back home, who in turn informed their respective state forces.  Both the girls and the owner have denied charges against them.
Following this incident, it was made mandatory for people from the North-east  to report to the police for verification, particularly those women working in beauty parlours and private enterprises in Goa. Some who went to report alleged that they were asked weird questions, some with innuendos such as “whether you are from Nagaland in connection with the case or whether you have come to Goa for the same job”.
 In August 2012, Bangalore witnessed a mass exodus of North-easternes following  threats via social media networking telling them to leave. Thousands working in Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad left.
Legislation, quick disposal of cases and stringent punishment are desirable to effectively curb racial violence against North-easterners.

The writer is A Delhi-based freelance contributor
The Statesman, NE page, October 27,2014