Their insistence on avoiding a needless quarrel following racial slurs, the Delhi Police admitted, resulted in a severe beating on Sunday evening.
Gin Khansuan Naulak, 24, who works as an insurance agent and his cousin Vunsuanmung Naulak, 25 had stopped by at a local cigarette shop when they encountered five people - two juveniles among them - drinking outside the makeshift cigarette-vending kiosk in Madangir near Ambedkar Nagar.
“The cousins were minding their own business when one person from the group - a juvenile - sauntered over to them and asked them for a ‘Nepali’ equivalent to a swear-word,” said a senior police officer, adding that the comment had been made by one of the juveniles. “To their credit, the cousins ignored the derogatory comments being made about their ethnicity for several minutes and chose to walk away, quietly,” the officer added.
However, the men, later identified as Pawan, Farmaan, Surender and two juveniles who have since been apprehended - were bent upon a physical confrontation and went to the extent of following the cousins to a meat shop down the street. This, police said, led to a heated confrontation.
The cousins were attacked by the other five after which they simply went back home, washed their clothes of blood stains and went to bed.
“But their condition deteriorated a couple of hours later and they decided to go to AIIMS for treatment. Here, they told doctors that they had been injured in an accident apparently fearing the involvement of the local police given the atmosphere after Nido Tania’s death,” said another officer.
“This is the second time I’ve faced such racial profiling in Delhi. I was harassed by two men last year, when they snatched away my specs. We were later taken to AIIMS by others friends. They were worried and came out in search of us and found us on the road. My ear has been plastered and I am fine now,” Gin Khansuan Naulak told HT.
Local enquiry led the police to one of the juveniles - the alleged instigator of the episode - whose questioning then led to his other accomplices.