An 18-year-old college student died on Thursday after being allegedly beaten up mercilessly at a marketplace in the Lajpat Nagar area of Delhi, triggering widespread protests in the Capital.
Nido Taniam, also spelt as Tania, the son of Arunachal Pradesh Congress legislator Nido Pavitra, was attacked around 2pm on Wednesday after an altercation broke out between him and a shopkeeper over his hair colour.
The police reportedly detained three persons in connection with the case. In the face of growing outrage, the Delhi government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case.
Read: AAP hits out at Delhi Police over youth's death
The incident has once again raised concerns over the security of students from the north-east in the Capital.
Micro-blogging site Twitter was abuzz on Friday, with some of the users suggesting racism played a part in Taniam's death. The mysterious death of 21-year-old Manipur resident Reingamphi Awungshi at Chirag Dilli in May 2013 also featured in the discussions.
"The death of a north-east student in New Delhi after being beaten up is barbaric and condemnable," Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley said on Twitter.
Read: Arunachal student a victim of hate crime, says Family
Taniam went to Lajpat Nagar to visit a friend on Wednesday, Arunachal Pradesh resident commissioner Avinash Mishra said while talking to a TV channel.
Unable to find the address, he entered a shop and sought the shopkeeper's help, Mishra added.
According to JT Tagan, president of the Arunachal Students' Union in the Capital, the shopkeeper and some people present at the shop teased Taniam over the colour of his hair.
Irked, Taniam broke a glass item in the shop, for which he later paid Rs. 7,000, Mishra said.
An altercation broke out and the youth was allegedly beaten up with sticks and iron rods by a group of around seven men. He succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, Tagan said.
A youth claiming to be Taniam's cousin alleged he saw an injury mark on his neck and his lips were torn. "The family has been informed. As they won't be able to come here, we will take the body back home," he said.
Read: Students from northeast face daily harassment
"This is surely about racism. Everybody in Delhi discriminates against us based on our looks. We are living in India, but we don't know whether we are actually living in India or not," he told a TV channel.
A police official said, "Taniam's post-mortem has been carried out in AIIMS. The cause of death would be clear only after the autopsy report. There was some altercation he had on Wednesday, we are investigating the case."
Some reports claimed the police had intervened into the matter and detained Taniam, but later dropped him at the same spot.
Reacting to the incident, ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Dilip Pandey said the Delhi Police should take prompt action and book the accused at the earliest.
Read: Police forced a compromise, says Nido's family
Turning the heat on the police force, he added, "The way lawlessness is prevailing in the state needs to be checked... Delhi Police will have to take the responsibility to stop such incidents."
According to TV reports, students from the north-east are likely to stage a protest in Delhi on Saturday.
Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of non-governmental organisation Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, accused the police of initially refusing to register an FIR in the case.
The government condemned the incident in a statement, saying, "We are working on ordering a magisterial inquiry into this death, which is not only tragic but raises serious questions on the alleged beating reportedly in public view."
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal directed education minister Manish Sisodia to probe the matter and revert with the details, news agency IANS reported.
With inputs from PTI, IANS
Read: Delhi won't lend a home to students from northeast