SFI Condoles Nido Taniam
THE central executive committee of the Students’ Federation of India in a statement issued on February 1, 2013 expressed heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Nido Taniam, the 19-year old student studying at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, who was brutally attacked by shopkeepers at Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi, before succumbing to his death on January 31. Following as it does the horrific incident of the gang-rape of a Danish woman, this incident reminds us that despite the tall promises by the incumbent government, Delhi remains to be an extremely unsafe city. Nido Taniam is a victim of a prejudice that thousands of North-East Indian students living away from their home face in their daily lives, a prejudice that emanates from a narrow and straitjacketed view of India and Indian culture. The details of the incident clearly show that the scuffle emanated after racist comments were made about the student when he stopped at the shop to seek directions. What is even more shocking is the role of the Delhi Police, who sought to “mediate” by asking Nido to pay for damages and letting the errant shopkeepers go scot free after seeking a written apology from them. This also brings to the forefront the apathetic attitude the police – an important arm of State power – nurture towards the people coming from the North-East Indian states. The fight against such discrimination cannot be just won by having a North-Eastern helpline or ensuring a “stronger” police. The fight can only be overcome by resisting and overcoming the shackles of racial prejudices and stereotyping. The ending of atrocities against the North-Eastern people is an important component in the advance of the democratic movement in India. While condoling the death of Nido, let us pledge to redouble our commitment towards strengthening the struggles against discrimination – racial or otherwise – against the people from North-Eastern India!