A deep cultural divide is evident in Sikanderpur village of Gurgaon where two call centre workers from Nagaland were brutally beaten up on Thursday.
Sikanderpur is a colony of Northeasterners surrounded by Haryanvi locals and the corporate crowd of Gurgaon. Most people from the Northeast are employed as
beauticians, call centre employees and in the retail and hospitality sectors, sharing the same cluttered spaces as other locals.
A tour of the colony that lies along the plush mall mile of Gurgaon revealed the deep divide in the colony where cultural clashes are common. The locals seem unwilling to accept the cultural ways of the Northeasterners who have become used to the abuses and racist remarks.
These rented accommodations also house the uneducated workforce such as drivers, domestic helps and security guards. Forced together in same small spaces by the high rentals of Gurgaon, a cultural tension become inevitable.
“We don’t like the way they parade around in the neighbourhood, almost instigating the boys to pick a fight. My family moved here years ago but we still don’t communicate with several tenants from the Northeast who also live here,” said a vegetable seller from Meerut, who lives in Sikanderpur.
The Northeasterners have another version. “There has been a cordial relationship between the landlords and tenants from the Northeast. But those who have never rent out their houses to people from the Northeast keep instigating others to oust us from the locality,” said T Hangshing from Nagaland who has been living in Sikanderpur for over a decade.
He said most local youth make prejudiced comments on how people dress or their communication in English since they are not fluent in Hindi. Majority of the population in Sikanderpur is from the Northeast. The three-storey houses in the area are mostly one-room flats with an attached bathroom and kitchen, each inhabited by at least four residents. Most landlords live in other parts of the city or even outside Gurgaon.
Locals allege people from the Northeast are sometimes involved in criminal activities and create a nuisance in the area.
“They are continue to carry on with their unruly activities, despite complaints. They are stubborn and do not change their ways, even if it disturbs neighbours,” said a local landlord and shop owner. He said residents are often disturbed by loud music or endless chatter by people who return late at night from their BPO jobs.