A case of racial discrimination has surfaced in Delhi after a woman from Manipur was racially abused when she was on her way in Vijay Nagar area of North Delhi. The incident took place when a man, on a two-wheeler, came and racially abused the woman by allegedly calling her 'corona'. As per reports, the man also spit 'gutakha' (tobacco) on woman's t-shirt, a photo of which has also gone viral. Many activists from the northeast are calling it an open case of racial discrimination. The incident took place on Sunday night and an FIR has been filed under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The incident has surfaced amid coronavirus outbreak in the country which has infected close to 400 people and claimed lives of 7 people so far. As the world continues to fight the noval disease by imposing complete or partial lockdown, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that locking down cities and asking people to stay indoors is not enough to contain the epidemic, therefore, countries have to take more proactive steps to deal with this crisis.
However, Delhi Police were quick to act to file a case against the man.
More steps like this need to be taken to stamp out the spread of ignorance surrounding the virus. Despite the fact that those from the North-East are just as Indian as those from the Hindi heartland, or indeed any other part of India, there exists a bias toward them that casts them as “outsiders”. “Corona” is a new slur; the vulgar have long been calling them “chinki” and other epithets.
Now that the coronavirus, which originated in China, is spreading in India, this underlying racism has manifested in intolerance toward North-Easterners. A video on Twitter showed how a Gujarat Police officer had to comfort a group of female students from the North-East, who were being pressured by residents of the housing society in which they stayed to vacate their flat due to paranoia over the virus.