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Delhi: NE students protest Arunachal boy’s death

Students from the northeast called off their protest in Lajpat Nagar on Saturday after the Delhi Police assured them of swift action in the Nido Taniam case. Arunachal MLA's son beaten to death | Poll:Should the Delhi Police be held responsible?

india Updated: Feb 03, 2014 18:16 IST
HT Correspondent & Agencies
HT Correspondent & Agencies

Students from the northeast called off their protest in Lajpat Nagar on Saturday after the Delhi Police assured them of swift action in the Nido Taniam (also spelt as Tania) case.

A delegation of students union also met Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to demand speedy action in the case.

“The Delhi Police have accepted our demands and assured a speedy investigation so we have called off our protest,” JT Tagam, former president of Arunachal Pradesh students union, said.

Taniam, son of Arunachal Pradesh Congress legislator Nido Pavitra, died two days ago after being allegedly thrashed by some shopkeepers.

Earlier in the day, the police added the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to the FIR. Taniam's viscera report, which would ascertain the cause of his death, would be ready in a week, TV channels reported.

The 19-year-old college student was reportedly attacked around 2pm in the Lajpat Nagar area of Delhi on Wednesday after an altercation broke out between him and a shopkeeper over his hair colour.

The incident has raised concerns over the security of students from the northeast, proving to be another blow to Delhi's image, already tainted by a series of crimes against women.

Read: Arunachal MLA's son beaten to death

Scores of protesters held placards, raised slogans against discrimination and demanded justice on Saturday. "It is a shocking incident and it is not the first time. It is not just about people from northeast, people from outside always face discrimination here," said a protester.

A delegation of the people from the northeast met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Harsh Vardhan. "I hope Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh), home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde) and chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) will rise to the occasion," Vardhan said.

Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, however, had sent the ball in the Delhi Police's court on Friday, blaming the force, which functions under the Union home ministry, for "lawlessness".

The police's role in the case is under the scanner. Some reports claimed on Friday the police had intervened into the matter and detained Taniam, but later dropped him at the same spot where the fight broke out.

The Delhi Police, however, on Saturday said Taniam was handed over to his guardian after he was picked up after the altercation. "After we picked him, we brought him to the police station (Lajpat Nagar) and called his local guardian... The youngster was handed over to him," said a police official.

Read:Police forced a compromise, says Nido's family

A magisterial inquiry into the incident has been ordered. Two shopkeepers identified as Farhan and Akram and another unidentified man had been detained in connection with the case.

Activists and people from the northeast termed the incident a "racial attack" while the region's parliamentarians said they would take up the matter with the Prime Minister.

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.

"There is no place for elements trying to spread hatred against people belonging to any particular part of the country," chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a statement.

Sumokoji, a protester, said, "This is not the first time that a northeast student has been targeted. We would continue our fight for our rights. We have come here to protest the death of the Arunachal student. We want the Delhi Police to take swift action in this case."

Read:Delhi won't lend a home to students from northeast

​Officials said Taniam was on a vacation from his studies in Jalandhar, Punjab, when he was beaten by shopkeepers who had ridiculed his appearance.

Taniam died in his bed on Thursday morning. An autopsy was conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to determine the cause of death. The initial post-mortem has not revealed "much injury or aberration".

Lok Sabha MP and Sikkim Democratic Front spokesperson PD Rai condemned Taniam's death. "We wholeheartedly condemn this kind of racist slur and violence that happened in the middle of a major market in New Delhi," Rai said in a statement.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS, AP)