We were there, amid the voices that were raised to protest against the brutal assault and the subsequent death of 19-year-old student Nido Taniam. The young boy, who hailed from Arunachal Pradesh, had come to Delhi to study. Hundreds came out on the streets at multiple venues to fight racism and bring an end to this discrimination. Jantar Mantar, where we were present, saw students from several universities and people from many different professions being a part of the movement. The candle march, which was organised by the Jamia Students Community, saw people sharing their own experiences of facing racism.
Tenzin Peljor, a 19-year-old student, shared, “Just because we look different and have different sensibilities, doesn’t mean that we are not Indians. What transpired is very depressing and shameful. A change in the attitude and mindset of people has to be brought in this country.” Other thoughts that echoed in the protest were that we claim to be citizens of a country that is the largest democracy in the world, but now and again, issues crop up in the form of ugly racist comments. One of the members, who was addressing the gathering, said, “Terms like ‘chinkis’, ‘jaat’, ‘bihari’ are used on daily basis to address a set of people who are very much a part of this secular country.By doing this, we are making them feel like an outcast in their own country."
Placards with messages like, ‘no more silence’, ‘doob maro Delhi’, and ‘justice for Nido’, were seen. The march concluded with a candlelight ceremony, along with demands for justice, strengthening of laws, and immediate arrest of the perpetrators. While the protest was taking place at one side, on the other, police officials were keeping a close watch so that the protests were carried out ‘smoothly’. There were similar strong protests in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi University’s north campus, India Gate, JNU campus and Jantar Mantar again, over the span of three days.