By Arré Bench Mar. 23, 2020
In Delhi’s Vijay Nagar last night, a man spat at a Manipuri woman and called her “corona”. As information around Covid-19 swells in India, it has led to an increase in xenophobic behaviour – particularly toward those from North-East India.
On 22 March, India witnessed over 80 new cases of coronavirus COVID-19, and the total number of positive cases crossed 400. With an increased level of awareness, there has also been a rise in unsavoury incidents of xenophobia, especially toward Indians hailing from the country’s North-Eastern region.
The ugliness is real. In Delhi’s Vijay Nagar last night, a man spat at a Manipuri woman and called her “corona”, which is quickly becoming a racial slur used toward those with an East Asian appearance.
Dumb Trump insists on referring to COVID19 as the “Chinese Virus”.
His fans in India do the same.
This is just one of the consequences of that stupidity 👇👇https://t.co/qMjt4qGFyz
— Jumla Buster (@FekuBuster) March 23, 2020
However, Delhi Police were quick to act to file a case against the man.
Delhi Police has registered a case under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code against a man who allegedly spat on a woman belonging to Manipur and called her “Corona” in Vijay Nagar area of north Delhi last night. pic.twitter.com/lBk88QGr8U
— ANI (@ANI) March 23, 2020
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.
i want to say lots of things but…..😠😠
— Anupama (@anujironi) March 22, 2020
Despite the fact that the North-East has produced some eminent personalities that have brought India global renown, like Mary Kom and Bhaichung Bhutia, the region remains an afterthought for many Indians. Even when a North-Easterner achieves a level of celebrity, they remain exposed to this brand of bigotry. Actor and singer Meiyang Chang shared another incident of how the coronavirus pandemic is just another opportunity for racists to have a laugh.