25 July 2014

The Onus To Integrate

India’s capital city has been deeply disturbed by several violent attacks on young men and women from the North-East

By Dipankar De Sarkar

In most cases of violence against people from NorthEastern states, police have come up with an “anything but racism” explanation.

On Boxing Day 2011, a student from Pune was shot and killed in the suburbs of Manchester for no apparent reason. Anuj Bidve, along with a group of friends—all Indians, visible minorities—happened to be in a housing estate known for its lawlessness. A man who called himself Psycho Stapleton walked up to the group, asked the time, and then took out a gun, placed it on Bidve’s left temple and shot him dead with a single bullet.

It was a numbing act of violence that led to an outpouring of shock and outrage in both India and the UK. After complaints from the grieving family, Manchester Police dispatched an officer to Pune to try and explain and apologise for delays in informing them of the tragedy. The unrepentant killer was found, arrested, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

It was a blot on Britain, a nation that to my mind has grown up embracing people of other races, religions and cultures. There was the determination not to allow such things to happen. In New Delhi this week, a former call centre worker called Shaloni, like Bidve in his 20s, was beaten to death by five men.

The man was from Manipur, one of eight states that are lumped as the North-East. Ignored for years by central governments and punished for rebellious insurgencies, the people of the North-East—visible minorities in most parts of India—have long complained of racism, especially in Delhi.

“Why don’t you people learn to integrate with your host communities?” ask some residents of Delhi in sentiments that are often heard in settings of conscious and unconscious racism, almost always from majority communities. I wondered what integration meant here: would they have to stop speaking English, stop listening to and playing Western rock music, swap skirts for saris?

India’s capital city has been deeply disturbed by several violent attacks on young men and women from the North-East. A 19-year-old student named Nido Taniam from Arunachal Pradesh got into an argument with some men in a South Delhi shop last year and they beat him to death.

A young woman was raped for four hours, another man was stabbed. Years ago in Delhi University, I discovered some fine musicians among students from the North-East—Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

I never thought to ask them about their experiences of Delhi—this after all was nobody’s town and it was everybody’s. No one gave a second glance. Or maybe they did. Things have changed now. Young men and women from the North-Eastern states are a much more abundant presence in Delhi.

They are university students, as well as workers in the service industry—call centres (partly because of their better English), shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. Forced by the poverty of their homeland to try and seek a living in the city, they have contributed to the economy and diversity of Delhi.

Puzzling about this spike in violence, I turned to Tungshang Ningreichon, a human rights activist from Manipur who has been a long-time resident of Delhi, to ask for her experiences. “This has always been there,” she said.

“But the trend is changing. Earlier we had regular abuse and harassment. Now it is much more violent. The record of the past few months shows people are being randomly attacked. Every day is a struggle for us.

“The daily racism comes out in small and subtle things people say. You feel disturbed. But you don’t want to pick a fight because you don’t want to spoil your day. “A lot of boys and girls live in rented houses.

Getting a gas connection is so difficult. If you go to Munirka, or Kotla where the killing (of Shaloni) took place, you will find variations in house rents within the same building. It’s Rs.12,000-15,000 for us but a little cheaper for the others.

We let it go.” Could she have integrated more? “There’s never been the space for us to integrate. It begins with your own teacher, right? ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Nagaland, Manipur.’ ‘Where is that?’

Now people are much more aware of this place called the NorthEast. The onus to integrate is not on us, the onus is on everybody.” Teenager Nido’s killing triggered a committee to “examine the causes behind the attacks/violence and discrimination against people from North-Eastern states” and suggest measures to be taken by the government. Its report has not been made public yet but if it doesn’t tackle the national capital’s notoriously uncaring police, it would have failed in its task. In most cases of violence against people from NorthEastern states, police have come up with an “anything but racism” explanation.
  • When Kawilungbou Chawang, a 28-year-old man, was found dead in a drain, police said it was an accident, although locals saw him running before jumping or falling into the drain. • When 21-year-old Reingamphy was found murdered in her flat, a non-government activist said, “We have been told by the station house officer (a police officer)… that these girls from North-East work in spas and that’s why these incidents take place.”
  • The explanation for Shaloni’s murder—so far—is road rage. The worst fear: “Maybe there’s a group of people who may think we don’t deserve to be here,” said Ningreichon. “How do I describe you,” I asked. “Oh just say another chinky, someone with a snub nose.”


30 People Ill After Eating Fermented Soya Bean in Mizoram

Aizawl, Jul 25 : At least 30 people were taken ill in Aizawl after eating fermented soya bean, Mizoram health department officials today said.

Dr Lalmalsawma Pachuau, Nodal Officer for the state Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme said that 35 people had reportedly eaten the fermented soyabean out of which 30 were given medical treatment in different hospitals across the city.

"We suspected bacterial contamination rather than chemical contamination as five people who ate the soya bean after cooking were not taken ill," Lalmalsawma said.

He said that the samples of the fermented soya bean were taken and sent to the microbiological laboratory and also to the state forensic science laboratory of the police department.

Reports said that two persons were treated at ICUs of two hospitals here while the condition of the rest of the victims were described as stable.

The reports said that the fermented soya bean was purchased by officials of the SCERT department from an employee.

This Man From Mizoram Has 39 Wives. Can You Guess How Many Kids He Has?

Most men have trouble handling one wife and two kids. Not this guy - he is happily married to all of his 39 wives, fathering 86 kids and a grandpa to 35 more!

It sounds ludicrous, but it is the raw truth. Ziona is a 70-something patriarch living with his huge family in a four-storey complex in a small village of Mizoram.

When asked, the man says that his big family is a will of god - and not because he wants to keep marrying again and again. He has not applied for the Guinness World Record, because he does not want the fame! The amount of food required to feed this family in one single meal is unbelievable.

This is a story that will punch a hole in all your family-planning schemes. Take a look.

Delhi HC 'pained' by Violence Against Northeast people

New Delhi, Jul 25 : 'Pained' by continuing incidents of violence against people from Northeast despite its orders, the Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a report from the government on the steps taken by it to curb "the menace plaguing the society".

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw made the observations while referring to the recent fatal assault of a young man from Northeast which was reported to be an incident of road rage.

"We are pained to note that inspite of our being seized of the issue of violence in the city of Delhi against persons hailing from North Eastern part of the country and further inspite of issuance of detailed directions from time to time, such incidents, rather than abating, continue to occur.

Delhi HC 'pained' by violence against Northeast people

"There was a news report recently of a young man of North Eastern origin being fatally assaulted in an incident which was reported to be of road rage," the court said.

"There was a news report recently of a young man of North Eastern origin being fatally assaulted in an incident which was reported to be of road rage," the court said. The bench urged Delhi police to "act with alacrity" while investigating the crime and sought a detailed status report by August 11, the next date of hearing.

The court also accepted the suggestion of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain that a status report be sought from Station House Officers (SHOs) of certain sensitive localities in the national capital, setting out steps being taken for controlling or preventing such incidents. Kotla Mubarakpur, Lajpat Nagar, Munirka and some areas in and around Delhi University were the sensitive localities that were mentioned before the court.

The court also sought information regarding the measures taken by a Special Police Unit set up for dealing with crimes against people from Northeast and asked why the setting up of the cell "is appearing to be ineffective". It also asked the ASG to place before it the report of a committee constituted to look into the concerns of the persons hailing from the Northeast.
24 July 2014

Manipuri Youth Murder: All 5 Suspects Arrested

Manipuri youth murder: All 5 suspects arrested

New Delhi, Jul 24 : The fifth and last suspect in the case relating to the murder of a 29-year-old Manipuri youth was arrested last night from Garhi area here, police said.  Lokesh (25), also a resident of Garhi village, had been absconding after the other four suspects were arrested, a senior police official said.

The victim Akha Salouni was allegedly beaten to death by a group of five men in a suspected case of road rage in Kotla Mubarakpur in the wee hours of July 21.

He was returning to his Munirka flat after a party. The incident had triggered widespread anger among North East community here.

Three suspects in the case—Sanjay Basoya (24), his cousin Shakti Basoya and Rajiv (25) were arrested from Garhi area on July 21, while the fourth suspect Azad Choudhary (24), a driver by profession and a resident of Garhi Village, was arrested yesterday.

Amit Gupta, spokesperson in AIIMS had said Salouni’s autopsy report suggested that death was caused due to multiple internal injuries in the neck, abdomen and brain caused by blunt force.

A Delhi court had remanded Shakti, Sanjay and Rajiv in police custody till July 24 while Azad was remanded today in one-day police custody.

Police said the incident had taken place at around 3 AM when the deceased, along with two friends, Dihe Kazhiihrii (25), who is also a resident of Manipur and Nagendra Sharma (40), a resident of Bihar, were returning after attending a party at their friend’s place at Masoodpur Colony.

Following the party, they had hired an auto to drop Kazhiihrii at his home at Kotla Mubarakpur. When the auto reached near Gurudwara road, a car arrived from behind and started honking indiscriminately, police said.

The car occupants abused the auto driver, following which an argument ensued between Salouni and his friends and the five youths.

The argument soon turned ugly following which five youths, all of whom were apparently in an inebriated state, alighted from the car and attacked the three.

While Kazhiihrii and Sharma managed to flee, Salouni was caught by them, police had said.

Kazhiihrii called the police around 3:30 AM, after which a police team reached the spot and rushed Salouni, who was unconscious, to AIIMS trauma centre where doctors declared him brought dead.

Northeast MPs Want Panel Report Made Public

By Nishit Dholabhai

New Delhi, Jul 24 :
Members of Parliament from the Northeast today urged Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju to make the Bezbaruah committee report public.

CPM MP from Tripura, Jitendra Chaudhury, said the MPs also discussed the demand for an anti-racism law and agreed that it would require consultations with a cross-section of people.
The North East MPs’ Forum, a group of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs from the eight northeastern states, had met in Parliament today to discuss its own “restructuring” and a plan of action in the wake of the death of another young man from the region this week.
Akha Salouni, 29, a Naga from Manipur who worked with a BPO here, was beaten to death by six youths in south Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur area around 2.15am on Monday. In January, Nido Tania, 19, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, had died after being thrashed by shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar following a fracas triggered allegedly by their racial taunts.
The MPs, however, treaded cautiously while speaking about Salouni’s death. While some felt that raising the issue of racism in what could be a case of road rage might backfire, no one wants to take a chance politically.
In fact, minister for minority affairs in the UPA government Ninong Ering, who had borne the brunt of activists’ ire for saying Tania’s killing was not a racist attack, was among the first to take up Salouni’s case in the Lok Sabha.
The outrage following Tania’s death had forced the UPA government to form a committee, led by North Eastern Council member M.P. Bezbaruah, to recommend comprehensive anti-discrimination measures.
The committee submitted its report to Rijiju on July 11. It has wide-ranging recommendations that include “debating” proposal of an anti-racism law.
The demand for the legislation, raised after Tania’s death, has gained fresh momentum following Salouni’s death.
However, in the short term, the committee says, the government should consider an amendment to the Indian Penal Code. Sources said the government is considering change in Section 153A of the IPC, relating to the crime of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language.
Rijiju is understood to have told the MPs’ forum, which was coordinated by Sikkim MP P.D. Rai, that a joint secretary ranked officer would study the committee’s recommendations after which the government will come out with “action points” to implement the recommendations.
Bezbaruah said the government should quickly go through the report and decide on how it can implement it. “It is not a very lengthy report. It is simple and straightforward, so it can be done,” he told The Telegraph.
He said the committee, which comprises former bureaucrats from the eight northeastern states as well as young people from the region, consulted a cross-section of society. Its members met as many as 800 people and tried their best to prepare a comprehensive report, he added.
There is also mounting pressure on the government from civil society groups to make the committee’s report public.

source: Telegraph India

Mary Kom: Inspirational Youthful & Award Winning Real Story

LOT OF LEARNING FOR PRIYANKA CHOPRA AS MARY KOMMumbai: Mary Kom is an Indian boxer.  Her life is outstanding example for the youth in general and for women specifically.  The legendary boxer from North East Indian state of Manipur took lot of struggle to reach her goal (of winning medal for India).  Born and brought up in a not so rich family, Mary Kom faced lot of financial and psychological hindrances in her journey to her goal.

Starting her boxing career in 2001, Mary Kom was successful in winning medals for India more than once. Some of the medals by Mary Kom include:
Silver medal in 2001, gold medal in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 & 2010 in world amateur boxing championships.  In the Asian Women’s boxing championship Mary Kom won silver in 2008, and gold in 2003, 2005, 2010 & 2012 in various categories like Pinweight & Flyweight.  Marycom improved her tally winning Bronze in 2010 in Guangzhou.   Her other medals include gold medal in 2009 Indoor Asian Games, another gold in 2011 Asian Cup Women’s Boxing Tournment & one more gold in Witch Cup in 2002.  Mary Kom’s popularity attained the highest peak when she won bronze in 2012 summer Olympics in London in 51 kg flyweight category.
After winning the Bronze medal, Mary Kom received around Rs.1.80 crores as gift from various governments in India. This medal she won after she got married and after giving birth to 2 children.  This point is very important as many Indian women feel that once they are married, they have to settle for household jobs only.  Breaking the baseless sentiments, Mary Kom went ahead to clinch more and more medals & popularity.
Seeing the victory, Sanjay Leela Bhansali immediately declared that he would be doing a epic on life of Mary Kom.  Accordingly Priyanka Chopra was roped in to play the role of Mary Kom in the movie having the same title.  The glamorous heroine had to transform herself a lot before shedding the glamour image and entering the role of a boxer who struggled a lot to achieve her goal.
The recently released first look of the movie Mary Kom received lot of appreciation from many sections of the Bollywood.  As there is no high level star cast in the movie, (with exception of story), this movie is releasing on 5th September 2014 to avoid clash with other big Bollywood projects.

Kolkata Safer Than Delhi, Say Students From Northeast

Kolkata, Jul 24 : Comments on appearance or the usual questions about whether they are Nepalis are common for students from northeast India who study here in the eastern metropolis.

Despite the slurs, the community feels Kolkata is "much safer" than the national capital where attacks on them are on the rise.

A 29-year-old Manipuri BPO employee was beaten to death in south Delhi's Kotla Mubarakpur area by five youths Monday.

The incident comes six months after 19-year-old Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania died after being hit with iron rods and sticks by some men following an altercation with a shopkeeper in a south Delhi market, not far from Kotla Mubarakpur.

Shocked at the escalating violence, heads of student groups have asked members of the community here to "be careful".

"We are not alarmed but we have asked students to be careful. We are definitely shocked with the increasing level of violence in the capital. But Kolkata is much safer that way... it is much more peaceful here," Niangbiaklun Tonsing, vice president of the Manipur Students' Association Kolkata (MASAK), told IANS.

They stay as paying guests or in hostels, primarily in the south and eastern fringes of Kolkata.

Apart from science and humanities courses, they pursue professional degrees like BBA or MBA.

"In 2007, there were around 200 students from Manipur. Now it is over 500. More and more people from other northeastern states are also coming in," Tonsing said.

Most of them are used to words such as "You are chinky" and questions like "Are you from Nepal?"

"We do not react. Words such as 'chinky' or 'Nepali' are repeatedly ascribed to us. There is no physical violence as such... it is mostly teasing that goes on. We just ignore them. Kolkata has also become more tolerant," Alex, a member of the Mizoram Students' Association in Kolkata, told IANS.

Alex said there are not more than 200 Mizos studying here.

Notwithstanding the relatively calm atmosphere that prevails here, security concerns remain.

"We have been told by police that they will provide a helpline number.

"Apart from that, there is no other avenue for help. We keep in touch with others from our community and check up if they need help," Ikotho Yeptho, who hails from Nagaland and acts as an advisor to the Naga Students' Union Kolkata, told IANS.

Yeptho said more than 800 people from Nagaland are enrolled in various colleges or are working in the IT or hospitality sector here.

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