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An unsafe capital

23 Jul. 2014 11:41 PM IST

A 29-year-old youth identified as Salouni of Tungjoy Village, Senapati district working as a BPO employee was beaten to death in south Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur area early Monday on July 21 by five youths. Two weeks earlier, a  victim identified as one Wilungbou from Tamenglong, Manipur and residing at Nariana, West Delhi was found dead in a pond by passers  Saturday around 11 p.m. Monday’s shocking incident comes six months after a 19-year-old Arunachal Pradesh student, Nido Tania, died after being beaten with iron rods and sticks by some men after an altercation with a shopkeeper in a south Delhi market, not far from Kotla Mubarakpur. The Delhi Police took late Nido to the police station and made to pay a huge sum as compensation for breaking a window during the altercation that ensued after he and his friend were verbally abused. Delhi Police then took late Nido and left him at the same spot where the incident took place after which he was attacked for the second time resulting in his death. On Christmas Eve at 11.30 p.m. in 2013 five Nagas were badly beaten which included a woman.  Most surprisingly, the Vasant Kunj Police Station had not taken any necessary action. Besides these there were several incidents of rape, sexual assault, murder and harassment meted out to people from the north east. Despite protests and memorandum and assurances, nothing much has changed. A report regarding the boorish behaviour of Delhiites was attributed to corruption in the Delhi Police. Whether this is true or not is debatable though it is undeniable that the Delhi Policeman epitomizes prejudice against other races other than north Indians. Many people from the north east who were victims of assault or other offences, found that the Delhi Policeman hardly takes their complaints seriously. Many other offences go unreported. The question then is, why are people from the north east targeted?  By conservative estimates there are around 20 to 30 thousand people from the north east residing in Delhi, most of who are students. Students from the North-East have to put up with the prejudiced attitudes of not just fellow students but even teachers, administrators and landlords. According to some academics, the prejudices on campus mirror the prejudices of Delhi society. Academician  Ms. Shahana Bhattacharya, Professor of History at Delhi University,was quoted as having said “Differentiation based on racial differences continues. There is a definite xenophobic streak.” . Delhi is not a medieval place seeped in orthodoxy but an ultra modern city with landscape the envy of most cities. What one thought of Delhi society as  a liberal and tolerant space is wishful thinking amid the reality of a hotbed of highly polarized identities. New Delhi is not only the nation’s capital but also the capital of crimes against women and a place where courtesy and respect for people has reached a nadir. The population of Delhi is largely made up people from the neighbouring Hindi-speaking states or cow belt  besides lakhs of migrants from other parts of the country. Perhaps, being rude and hostile could be some sort of defence and telling the outsider to ‘go away’. The government of India needs to do more than condemnations over these atrocities if Delhi is to be called as capital of India and not the capital of crime and prejudice.

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