The tribal girls of North East India living and working all over India are increasingly facing racism as they are perceived to be Chinese by mainland Indians.
Two such incidents came into the limelight within 24 hours. In one incident a group of girls were sought to be locked in for 14-day quarantine by vigilantes while one girl was spat by a middle-aged man in New Delhi.
The first incident was resolved following an intervention by the Ahmedabad city police commissioner Ashish Bhatia and senior IPS officers from Nagaland, posted in New Delhi and Ahmedabad, according to the victims.
In the second incident, a middle-aged man in white scooty spat on the face and body of a Manipuri girl in Uttam Nagar, New Delhi.
The nine persons from Nagaland are employed in an IT consultancy firm in Ahmedabad. After a mobile video shot by two persons from Nagaland at an Ahmedabad quarantine facility alleging ’discrimination’ began to make the rounds of the social media, on Saturday evening, the two, along with seven others were released from the quarantine facility later in the night
“A caller had contacted a helpline and said that a few people from China have come to Ahmedabad and they have Coronavirus. When a police team reached our office, we explained to them that we are from Nagaland and we have been working in Ahmedabad for the past five years. The police then took us to a quarantine centre and undertook our (preliminary) tests even though none of us were sick…None of us had any travel history. Yet, the quarantine facility staff said that we will have to stay there for 14 days. People are discriminating against their own country’s citizens and this was a result of bias,” said the female victim.
The nine persons then started posting video messages on social media, alleging racial bias on behalf of police authorities despite having no travel history or symptoms.
When contacted, Bhatia said that the case was of a “false alarm” by a caller after which confusion was sorted.
On late Saturday evening, senior IPS officer Wabang Jamir, Gujarat Cadre reached the quarantine centre at Sports Club in Navrangpura and spoke to the people. Later, Ahmedabad city police commissioner Ashish Bhatia also reached the spot and communicated with the professionals and the medical team. All 9 people were then released from the quarantine centre around 10.30 pm.