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Manipur CM raises racism issue in meeting with Modi

With the number of covid-19 cases increasing across the country, there have been cases of discrimination against people from northeastern region, health workers, including doctors, nurses, (Photo: Reuters)Premium
With the number of covid-19 cases increasing across the country, there have been cases of discrimination against people from northeastern region, health workers, including doctors, nurses, (Photo: Reuters)

  • Incidents have been reported from Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad where complaints have been filed against people for spitting and stopping them from entering grocery stores.

New Delhi: With cases of racism against people from India’s north eastern region increasing in the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China, Manipur’s chief minister N. Biren Singh on Saturday raised the issue of racial discrimination during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with the state chief ministers.

On 22 March, a man in Delhi allegedly spat on a girl from Manipur and called her “corona". The man had been arrested. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had condemned the incident and asked the Delhi Police to take strict action against the offender.

Since then similar incidents have been reported from Mumbai and Hyderabad where complaints have been filed against citizens for spitting and stopping people from the northeast from entering grocery stores.

Despite legal provisions, racism is rampant in the national capital along with others parts of the country. In 2014, Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh died after he was allegedly assaulted by a group of people in Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi.

With the number of covid-19 cases increasing across the country, there has also been discrimination against health workers, including doctors, nurses, essential goods delivery executives, pilots and air hostesses. There have been complaints filed after they have faced discrimination for performing their duties. In some cases, their landlords have threatened them with eviction.

Singh also raised the issue of stranded Manipuri students and requested around 30,000 students stuck in different parts of the country be brought back to the state.

India is facing a humanitarian crisis with many migrant workers trudging hundreds of miles from cities to their homes as the lockdown has rendered them jobless. Even as Modi has leveraged his popularity among Indians to enlist them in the battle against the covid-19 pandemic, India, home to a fifth of the world’s population, saw more than 600,000 daily wagers and their families leaving for their villages.

"Condemning and expressing distress at the instances of attacks on the doctors and medical staff, and at incidents of misbehavior with students from North-East and Kashmir, Prime Minister underlined that such cases need to be dealt with firmly," the government said in a statement on Saturday.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the meeting with the PM called for special trains to be arranged to help stranded people in different parts of the country reach their homes.

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