Michael Lamjathang Haokip of Manipur with Police Commissioner M N Reddy at his office in Bangalore on Thursday
Express met with Michael Lamjathang Haokip, one of the Manipuri students who was beaten up by three people in the city on Tuesday.
Where did the incident happen?
For an upcoming cultural function, we were practising Bamboo dancing at Kothanur. Many of my friends stay there and I went there from Shantinagar, where I stay.
What did you do after practice?
We finished practice at around 5.30 pm and since we needed the local police station’s permission to hold the function, three of us went to meet the inspector of the Kothanur police station. After going to the police station, we went to have dinner. Around 9.30 pm, we visited a local food joint and ordered food. We were sitting and chatting in our local language when we noticed three people sitting at the adjoining table. Suddenly one of them started shouting at us saying, “What you are eating is Kannada food. Where you are sitting is Karnataka, so you should speak in Kannada.”
How did you react to that?
- One of my friends knew Kannada and he tried to pacify them. Meanwhile I got up to wash my hand and my other friend continued to ignore them. When I was returning to my seat, I noticed that one of the three people was lifting a chair to throw at us. I controlled him and all of us went outside.
What happened outside?
- We were quarrelling outside and then I noticed the guy who had aimed the chair at us picking up two stones to throw at us. I acted out of instinct and grabbed him. In that process, I fell down and he fell down and at that time, he hit me with the stone.
When the fight was going down, our bikes fell down. I tried calling the Kothanur police station but there was no response. I called out to my friend and we took his bike and headed to the police station.
On our way to the police station, another guy came by on a motorbike and hit us. We fell down and at that time, I got through to the police station and spoke to the inspector. I started walking towards the station and met the police on my way.
Certain reports say that you’ve denied it to be a racist comment.
- While I have not used the word racist, it is very obvious that those comments were made because of how I look. That is indirectly racism. Would the locals have dared to make such comments if, instead of us, there were three locals who did not know Kannada?
Were you aware that the guys who beat you up were drunk?
-No, I was not. If we wanted, we could have replied with muscle power, but we chose to go to the police.