The preliminary autopsy report of 19-year-old Nido Taniam, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, has confirmed he died of injuries suffered in a “violent assault”.
In Delhi on a holiday, Nido Taniam, also spelt as Tania, was beaten up by a group of men in Lajpat Nagar market on January 29 after an argument broke out between him and a shopkeeper over the colour of his hair and appearance. Taniam was found dead in a friend’s flat the next day, triggering widespread outrage.
The initial report, which was shared with HT by Taniam’s family, reports swelling in the brain, usually a result of violent shaking — the teenager was punched in the head and also repeatedly hit with a stick.
The swelling led to accumulation of fluid, or edema, in lungs which blocked the respiratory system, killing Taniam, who was laid to rest in his village on Sunday.
There was some internal bleeding in the neck and abrasions on the head, and face. “The doctor who conducted the post-mortem at AIIMS shared the details of the report, which I noted down,” Taniam’s uncle Nido Jose Apil told HT. The final autopsy report is expected later this week.
“They beat up my nephew like a dog. Even a child is not spared racial discrimination,” Apil said. People from Northeast often face discrimination and are also subjected to racial taunts in the Capital.
Protests continued in the city on Tuesday with groups of people from the northeast and local Delhiites coming out to demand justice for the teen at Raj Ghat and Jantar Mantar.
The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been roped in to conduct forensic tests on Taniam’s viscera sample collected during his autopsy on Friday.
The post-mortem was conducted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“The doctor who conducted the post-mortem at AIIMS told me in detail about the report, which I noted down. I personally met him on Friday and he discussed the report with me,” said Taniam’s uncle Nido Jose Apil.
“We have received a condolence letter from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and we’ll meet her and the Prime Minister soon,” he added. “We want the culprits to be punished. They beat up my nephew like a dog. Even a child is not spared from racial discrimination. Such kind of treatment against the people of the North-East in mainland India won’t be accepted.”
“Our identity should be made clear. We are Indians and we should not be treated like foreigners. Taniam was laid to rest in our village yesterday.”
Till Saturday, the Lajpat Nagar police detained three people who were involved in the attack on Taniam. Two of them were identified as Farman and his friend Akhtar. None of them have been placed under arrest and police said that they cannot arrest them until it is clear that Taniam died due to the physical assault.
Read: Boss, do you need a passport to enter the northeast?
“We have registered a case of murder and have added section 3 and 10 of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities act in the FIR. Before booking anybody in the murder case, we have to be sure about the accused’s role in the death. We cannot arrest anybody without a concrete proof,” said a police officer.
He said they will released the detainees as they cannot be kept under custody beyond 24 hours -- the maximum time for which a person can be kept under police detention.
Facebook page on Taniam a big hit, has 47,000 likes
Taniam’s friends and family have alleged that he was beaten twice by the group of accused and the second round of beating took place in the presence of the police. They have also alleged that police officers made Taniam pay Rs. 7,000 to Farman as compensation for the damage of his glass counter which was allegedly broken by Taniam during the argument.
Police, however, have been refuting the allegation by claiming that they have enough evidence to prove that Taniam was fine when he left for his sister’s house in Green Park after the incident.
Edit: Ignorance about NE is breeding discrimination