Shocked at the demise of their fellow student, Nido Taniam, also spelt as Tania, in a brawl in Delhi on Friday, the Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, students hailing from the northeast say they also face a similar racial abuse.
Nido Taniam, a first-year student of BA honours, at the university, who hailed from Arunachal Pradesh, died in Delhi on Friday after he was beaten up by a group of men led by the owner of a shop. He was allegedly assaulted after he protested against the shopkeeper's mockery over his appearance.
Thokchom Robert, a student of bachelors in physical education from Manipur, says people call them 'chinky' and 'Chinese' at times. "They comment on our physical appearance also. But we ignore them."
His friend Zimik, a BCA first-year student, agrees. "The government should do something to check the racial menace. There should be a separate cell so that we can report such issues to them. We don't face any discrimination in the university as here a lot of people are from the northeast. But we do face it when we move around in the market."
The university has more than 800 students from the north-eastern states studying in various courses.
Seyie, a BSc agriculture third-year student from Nagaland, says, "People comment on our physical appearance and at times on our height. We are all Indians and have the same patriotic feelings for the country."
Daniel, an engineering student from Nagaland, says there must be some punishment for these acts and officials in Delhi and Punjab should hear our grievances. "At times, people call us Chinese or comment on our short height, but we ignore them."
Meanwhile, university chancellor Ashok Mittal condemned the unfortunate incident in Delhi.
"It is a tragic moment for the parents, friends and the university as such a precious life has been lost. We support the parents and will help them seek justice," he added.
An average student
Nido took admission in the university in 2013 and was a scholarship holder as he had scored more than 80% marks in class 12. He was on leave since mid of November till January 31 and was to rejoin the university on February 1. He had missed his first semester examinations held in December. According to the university records, Nido was an average student and had no disciplinary issues.