There is shock and anger among friends and relatives of Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh who was brutally beaten to death in Lajpat Nagar after he clashed with shopkeepers who made fun of his hairstyle and looks.
“My brother came to Delhi last week on vacation and I met him just four days ago. We went for a movie along with his sister. I just can’t believe that he is not with us any more. I am shocked,” said Nido Tania’s cousin Deyir Kana, who is doing her graduation from a private university in Delhi.
Tania was brutally assaulted by a group of men in Lajpat Nagar on Wednesday after he broke a glass at a shop following an altercation with a shopkeeper who made fun of his hairstyle and looks. He succumbed to his injuries the next day at his Green Park extension residence.
“My brother was treated like an animal and he was brutally beaten. There were bruises all over his body. I can’t imagine that we can’t get him back anymore,” she said. “I was very close to his sister and since he spent a major part of his life in a boarding school, we didn’t get to talk much but he was very dear to us.”
His family members left for Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday after the body was handed over to them.
Racial discrimination against north-eastern students in Delhi is something that has been a cause of concern among students for quite some time now. “What happened to Nido has been happening to the people of the north-east for a long time. If one minister can have 10 policemen as their security then why can’t two policemen be deployed for at least 50 people?” asked Kiria Jamatia, a protestors from Tripura and a BCom student.
Tania’s friend Lenmen, a student from DU said, “This racism starts as a joke which are cracked in schools and colleges and then the same students grow up to be racist bullies.”
A few students from Delhi University joined the protest in Lajpat Nagar, showing solidarity with students from the north-east. “We are not from the north-east but we have come here to protest against racism. Racism is rampant in our country and we should fight against it. Why anyone should be teased for their looks and hairstyle,” said Shambhavya Sharma, a student of Kamala Nehru College.
Delhi Congress leader Haroon Yusuf said at a press conference that the death of the Arunachal boy was a culmination of racial bias shown by law minister Somnath Bharti.
BJP leader Tarun Vijay, who was present at the protest site said: “It is an issue of the whole country and not just a particular community. The entire country should unite against racism.”