Racism Endures: Another Attack on a Manipuri Woman Proves Nothing’s Changed in Two Months Into Covid-19


Racism Endures: Another Attack on a Manipuri Woman Proves Nothing’s Changed in Two Months Into Covid-19

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

As coronavirus cases spike in the country, more and more instances of racism faced by people from the Northeast have come to the fore. In another shocking incident, Chong Hoi Misao, a 20-year-old woman from Manipur was brutally attacked by some locals from Faizpur, Gurugram in Haryana just for passing through the locality.

While returning after meeting a friend, Misao was stopped by an elderly woman who rudely interrupted her from passing through the road, claiming it was private property. She abused her in a racially charged tone, allegedly calling her ‘corona’ and even claiming that the “police are on our side.” After the altercation, family members of the woman also came forward and started hitting her with sticks, which rendered Misao unconscious. There were bruises all over her body. A few local people then rescued her and called the police.

“Just when she thought there would be justice, the police officials told Misao to compromise,” said Joel, a friend of the victim. Misao then called the North East Support Centre and Helpline (NESCH) and a member reached the place of attack at 8.30 pm.

“Since it was late at night, we then took her to our safe house shelter, north of her place, as she was too scared to go back to her place,” said Nambu Riamei, a member of the NESCH. A FIR has been lodged under various sections of the IPC and SC/ST Atrocities Act. Misao is seeking medical treatment and waiting for her CT scan result.

There have been a series of such incidents against Indians from the Northeast over the past couple of months. The horrific case in late March in Delhi’s Vijay Nagar, where a man spat on a Manipuri woman and called her “corona” shocked the nation.

Even when a North-Easterner achieves a level of celebrity, they remain exposed to this brand of bigotry. Actor and singer Meiyang Chang had shared an incident of how the coronavirus pandemic is just another opportunity for racists to have a laugh.

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🅴🅳🅸🆃🅴🅳: ʜɪ, ɪ ʀᴇᴀʟɪꜱᴇ ᴛʜɪꜱ ᴘᴏꜱᴛ ʜᴀꜱ ʀᴇꜱᴏɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴀ ʟᴏᴛ ᴏꜰ ʏᴏᴜ. ᴀ ᴄᴏɴᴠᴇʀꜱᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʜᴀꜱ ꜱᴛᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ɪᴛ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ'ꜱ ɢᴏᴏᴅ. ʏᴏᴜ ᴍᴀʏ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴘᴏꜱᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴏᴘɪɴɪᴏɴꜱ ʜᴇʀᴇ, ʙᴜᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ɪ ᴘʟᴇᴀꜱᴇ ʀᴇQᴜᴇꜱᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏ ᴋᴇᴇᴘ ɪᴛ ᴄᴏʀᴅɪᴀʟ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇꜰʀᴀɪɴ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴜꜱɪɴɢ ᴀʙᴜꜱɪᴠᴇ ᴏʀ ᴅɪꜱʀᴇꜱᴘᴇᴄᴛꜰᴜʟ ʟᴀɴɢᴜᴀɢᴇ (ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜꜱᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ'ꜱ ᴇxᴀᴄᴛʟʏ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴇ ᴀʀᴇ ᴜᴘ ᴀɢᴀɪɴꜱᴛ)? ᴛʜᴀɴᴋ ʏᴏᴜ 🤗 . In times of crisis, some human beings devolve into the worst versions of themselves. Or may be that was them all along? . Thank you @mumbaigirl14 @timesofindia for taking this message far & wide, in light of the online & public #racism & discrimination against North-East Indians & the Indian-Chinese🙏🏼 And thank you everyone for your unstinting humanism & love since this article broke yesterday (or today, depending on which city you are in). I'm reading your messages and I'm so, so touched by your kind words. Let's stay united; in spirit & in philosophy. Now and always 🤗 . And to those stray trolls who are still spewing venom on my timeline; I say to you, as we would back in Bihar-Jharkhand: "भक साला, तुम तो हमारे प्यार के क़ाबिल भी नहीं हो बे! लेकिन, तुमको भी दीर्घायु भवः।" . Stay safe, stay healthy everyone ❤️

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The Home Ministry had asked states to take action against racial abuse faced by members of the Northeastern community in their respective states but the cases have not dialled down. While we are at it, perhaps we need to socially distance ourselves from bigots and racists as well.