Nido Taniam, also spelt as Tania, the 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh who succumbed to injuries on Thursday after he was brutally beaten up by a group of men in Lajpat Nagar, was a victim of hate crime alleged his friends and family.
"This is a clear case of racism. He was laughed at because of his looks and hairstyle. Who knows the shopkeeper might have passed an offensive remark which enraged him," said his cousin Arun Chamrak, 24, who is preparing for competitive exams in Delhi. He completed his engineering from Maharashtra.
The incident took place just two weeks after by Aam Aadmi Party workers led by law minister Somnath Bharti raided the houses of African women at Khirki Extension alleging flesh trade.
Taniam, who had come to Delhi for a vacation, was a student of Lovely Professional University and was staying with his sister in a flat owned by his father. His father Nido Pavitra is a sitting MLA from Raga constituency in Arunachal Pradesh. He went to Lajpat Nagar on Wednesday with three friends to meet another friend.
Taniam got engaged in an altercation with a shopkeeper after he was allegedly jeered at for his hairstyle. A group of 7-8 people beat him up badly with sticks after Taniam broke a glass at the shop in a fit of rage.
"He refused to go to the hospital on Wednesday evening after he was beaten up. He told his friends that he was fine. Taniam was not a hot-tempered boy. I know him from childhood days; he was very quiet and never got involved in any kind of altercation. Probably, he was provoked into a heated argument," added Arun.
Arun stays close to his house in a place called Tanem in Lower Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh.