Assam leader writes to HM Amit Shah to express concern over NE people being targeted

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GUWAHATI | MARCH 24, 2020:

The leader of the opposition in the Assam legislative assembly, Debabrata Saikia, on Monday wrote to union Home Minister Amit Shah, expressing concern over the targeting of people from the Northeast following the coronavirus outbreak.

The Congress leader, in his letter to Shah, said he was bringing to his notice the fact that at a time when the country is struggling to cope with the threat posed by the coronavirus, certain racist elements in some parts of India were abusing and vilifying people with Mongoloid features who hail from the northeastern states.

"I have already received information about several such incidents, where persons from the Northeast have been abused as 'chinkis', 'bat-eating tribe', etc," Saikia said.

He said that at a shopping mall in Pune, a middle-aged woman abused a young girl from the Northeast, ostensibly because she suspected the victim of being a Chinese national and therefore responsible for spreading the coronavirus.

"Other incidents include another young woman from the Northeast being spat upon by a scooterist in New Delhi for apparently the same reason. A woman named Angelica Aribam was so appallingly abused on social media that she was compelled to lodge an FIR with the Delhi Police against the culprits," he said.

It needs to be borne in mind that this sort of abuse is not only racist, it also violates the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Congress leader said.

He requested the union home minister to issue strict instructions to the administrations of all states and union territories, barring the Northeast, to take immediate and effective steps to protect domiciles from the region from all kinds of physical and mental harassment on the pretext of the coronavirus outbreak.

"In particular, I would further like to urge you to instruct the Delhi Police to book and take appropriate action as per law against the persons responsible for harassing Angelica Aribam," Saikia added.