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Discrimination of a “Pakka Indian”

by IT Web Admin
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By : Haobam Shyamsunder
Awarded the best airport in central asia and the best airport staff in central Asia at the world airport awards 2015 Indira Gandhi International airport, New Delhi also stood first in the new rankings for 2015 airport service quality (ASQ) Awards by Airports Council International. So many laurels of IGI airport and yet an immigration officer at the IGI airport let down the prestigious airport as he harassed and humiliated Monika Khangembam from Manipur.
Fed up and tired, Monika posted the incident on her facebook page: “The bloody racist immigration desk is at it again! Looks at my passport and says, “Indian to nahi lagti ho”. I get that all the time so don’t react much to it but then he goes on, “Pakka Indian ho?” with a smirk. I still don’t react. What really got me was when he said “See….you yourself need to know your indianness. How many states are there in India?” The lady at the next counter ias giggling. I tell him I am really running late. He goes on “nahi nahi bolo bolo”’ I helplessly answer him as he is not proceeding with the process. And then he carries on “kaha se ho”. I said from Manipur and he is like, “so tell me how many states Manipur shares borders with, name them”. I totally lose it and I look away and roll my eyes and don’t answer. And he is still insisting me to answer. This moron has all the time to ask all this. I said I was really getting late and he goes like, “aircraft aapko chodke kahi nahi ja rahi. Aaram se jawab do”. What a bully and never felt so humiliated. It was like it was his mission to make me realise my ‘Indianness’ and he thought he was being funny. I was running late and I felt I was giving in to the bully. Spoilt my night. “
This incident could have happened to anyone from the north eastern part of India, where physical features have mongoloid traits and are distinctively dissimilar from the mainland Indians. There have been many incidents in the past where people from northeast were under attack, tortured, beaten up and even murdered on numerous occasions every year not only in the capital Delhi but also in other parts of India.
The immigration officer could have verified if Monika’s passport was fake by using passport reader, if the passport check turned out to be authentic, then there would be no doubt on the nationality of the holder of the passport issued by the respective governments.
It does not necessarily arise that one has to know either English of hindi to get through immigration officers to go to a foreign country. Many talented cultural troupes has gone and performed abroad. Does it mean any individual of the team may be deferred travel merely on the grounds of suspicion that the person does not know Hindi or English and could not answer questions asked by the immigration officer at the departure terminal?
What questions would be asked by the immigration officer to the Sadarjis, Chinese, Tamils, Keralites and Japanese who have become citizen of the United States when they visit India? Would he still ask “So tell me how many states your state shares borders with, name them?” just because they don’t look like an American citizen? How, according to the immigration officer should a “pakka Indian” or a “pakka American” look like?
The sheer futility of police officers refraining to take FIRs in police stations is another grief to the people from northeast which is happening every now and then. This creates a spirit of distrust, panic and irrational abhorrence against the mainland people as well as the police who should be the protector.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted “Monika Khangambam – I am sorry to know this. Immigration is not with me. I will speak to my senior colleague Shri @rajnathsingh ji to sensitise immigration officer at airport” on Sunday, 10th of July. Scrolling though the tweets of Sushma Swaraj, she seems to be a helping hand on a lot of occasions but which ministry is going to handle the Monika case?
There still might have been many similar incidents of pestering which went unnoticed, some not courageous enough like Monika Khangembam or due to fear of social stigma or some other reasons not known. Let everyone come out daringly fight it out and root out this “Pakka Indian”, “Alienation” and “Discrimination” faced by the people of Northeast.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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