A day after the attack on Manipuri men in Bangalore, two young men from Nagaland were brutally beaten up in Gurgaon by a gang of locals.
The locals numbering about seven, held the two in confinement in Sikanderpur area and beat them up with cricket bats and hockey sticks on Wednesday night, a support group for northeast students alleged.
The victims, Awang Newmei (22) from Jaluki village and Aloto Chishi (25) from Shitovi, have been staying in Sikanderpur over the last two years and work at a BPO.
Watch: We are also Indians, why are we being tortured?': Victims
The youths had gone to a friend's place around 11.30pm to get a bottle of liquor, when one of them got a call from one of the attackers asking him to come outside.
As soon as they were outside, they were surrounded by the seven attackers, taken to a room at a nearby vegetable market, forced to drink liquor, and then brutally assaulted for hours.
Sometime during the attack, Aloto was rescued by his sister who came to the spot hearing of the incident, but the assault on Awang continued till 3am.
The attackers then chopped his hair saying, "We want to send a message to all of you in the northeast. If you guys from Manipur or Nagaland come here, we will kill you."
Awang was then dumped on the roadside, where he lay till some of his acquaintances spotted him in the morning.
The victims were taken to a private hospital but were moved to the Gurgaon Civil Hospital because of the severity of their wounds. One of them was later shifted to south Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
Police, however, said it was a drunken brawl and not a racist attack. “This is not a hate crime. An altercation broke out after the victims and the locals had drinks in a room. Few of them had had drinks together previously as well,” said Dalbir Singh, assistant commissioner of police (DLF).
The victims, identified as Awang Newmai and Aloto Chishi alias Chester, faced another such attack this year but did not take up the matter with police after the area panchayat promised that no further harm would come to them, sources said.
“Many people from the northeast have been assaulted here in the past. There are no CCTV cameras in the area even though several people from the northeast stay in Nathupur and Sikanderpur villages,” said Bruce K Thangkhal, media in-charge, northeast support centre (NESC) and helpline. Police said one of the attackers had been identified as a 23-year-old landlord.
The attack came after some men reportedly assaulted a Manipuri student in Bengaluru with rocks a little after midnight on Wednesday for not speaking the local language. Police later arrested a few of the alleged attackers.
People from the northeast states who live in other parts of the country often face abuse and harassment because many have distinct facial features and are not native speakers of local languages, say social scientists.
Delhi witnessed widespread protests in January when a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh died after being beaten up by a group of men in Lajpat Nagar.
(With agency inputs)