Posted On Friday, August 10, 2012 at 01:32:13 PM
Richard Loitram’s death in Bangalore sparked a huge outcry nation-wide, with students from the North-East taking to the streets protesting not just what they saw as case of murder in India’s Silicon City but also the regular racial discrimination and abuse they face across the country and particularly in Delhi.
|Premananda Khomdram from Manipur, who studies at Poona College
was assaulted by 30 people
on Wednesday afternoon
On Wednesday, Premananda Khomdram, a Manipuri student of Poona College faced an inexplicable act of wrath, when 30 unidentified boys pounced on him just outside his college. His fault — he was a `chink’.
Khomdram, 17, was on his way to college to check on his pre-exam subject listing, when he was approached by a youth. “Ap Assam se ho?”(Are you from Assam?) the youth asked. “I told him no,” recalled Khomdram.
But before he could get beyond that he was slapped on his head. Then another youth came along shouting, “Sab chinki log ko nahi chhodna,” (Don’t let any ‘chinki’ person go.) The next thing he knew was a rain of blows.
“They punched and kicked me on the road. My pleas that I was from Manipur fell on deaf years,” he narrated. Khomdram had been summoned to the college by to check on the subject list put up, by his friend. He was about to call this friend on reaching the college, when he was assaulted. The punches and kicks went on for 15 minutes before he could get away.
Working at a shoe shop on Fergusson College Road, Khomdram goes to college rather sporadically. He stays in a rented apartment at Hadapsar. His parents are farmers based in West Imphal in Manipur.
A group of five students, all members of Manipur Students’ Union, met city police commissioner Gulabrao Pol and discussed the issue with him. “He has assured us that right action will be taken against the culprits,” said union president Alam M K.
This is not a one off incident. As other North East students complain of harassment on Pune roads. “Whenever I am riding my bike, I get pulled by cops for no apparent reason.
They look at me suspiciously and ask all sorts of questions. As a bike rider, I am disgusted by the way we are treated,” says Rock Lungleng, a student at ILS Law College, who is also the ex-president of the Naga Students’ Union.
“Many of my friends have faced similar problems. For instance, even if we are right in front of a queue in college for official work, we are shooed away by the officials for no apparent reason and preference is given to others,” adds Rock. Shockingly, the name calling has not stopped.
“So many times when I am waiting at traffic signals, people randomly start calling me a chinki and they yell at me to move aside,” says Rock.
Left voiceless, they rely on keeping strong relations with one another to survive the ordeal. Being in Pune for five years has definitely had its share of tribulations for Rock and his friends.
When contacted Pol refused to comment on the meeting. - With inputs from Ashwin Khan
► He (Pol) has assured us that right action will be taken against the culprits
- Alam M K, Union President