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Regional disparities towards the North Easterners

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Humans have always had an intrinsic need to protect and propagate their own kind. Wars were fought and kingdoms were ruined as result. We’ve also always had this inherent feeling of curiosity, distrust and suspicions for anyone not of our own race or group. While most of the civilized minds have come to accept different cultures, traditions and ethnic groups, yet there still exist individuals who mock and are cynical of the behaviours and lifestyles of others belonging to another race, religion or region.
This immature outlook and narrowed mentality often hurt the sensibilities, and in some instances, are the cause of conflicts and confrontations. One such unfortunate incident, ignited after a local sweets vendor passed a derogatory remark on the looks of a young student from Arunachal Pradesh led to a scuffle and ultimately the death of the boy some years back. This incident, shocking as it is, is not the first or neither the last incident where physical confrontations result from uncouth remarks, or misplaced racial superiority have resulted in death and other atrocities against people from North east India.
Instances are too varied and numerous to cite, and despite repeated assurances from authorities in the capital, such atrocities continued unabated. Question is, should the people from the north east continue waiting for those promises to be delivered, or is it time to take precautions and measures as a collective whole to safeguard themselves?
What concrete steps are being taken up by the respective State Governments to ensure the safety of the people from the region in the capital, which is incidentally being tagged as the “Rape Capital of the world”?
The issue needs to be approached and handled with extreme care and caution. A concerted effort and understanding between the State and Central Government and the concern authorities needs to be established. There have been reports of the Delhi police refusing to entertain complaints lodged by people from the North east, as well as constant refusal of accommodation to students from the region. These instances point to some sort of serious communication gap or misunderstanding, or rather a negative preconceived notion of the people from the North east. A thorough introspection may reveal more into the genesis of such distrust and muted aggressions. It would surprise many from the “developed Metros” of India to learn that most of the influential and flourishing traders and businessmen are from mainland India, who are given the freedom to lead their lives and follow their faiths in the North eastern states without discrimination or ill will- a lesson these metro cities could learn. A proactive law and order system could impact a huge positive change in the present atmosphere of uneasy distrust and uncertainty.
Meanwhile, it could be more lasting if one can learn to brush off the snide remarks from uncivilized characters, or better still, raise the issue through the police, however unconvincing and frustrating the exercise may prove to be, for they are duty bound to serve and protect the citizens of this country of which we are very much a part and parcel of, whose frontiers we are safeguarding. And when every other avenue seems to close out, there is always the press and the media who are ever prepared to take the troubles to take any instances of discrimination and abuse to the people and highlight the reality without fear or distortions. 

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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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