On 22nd March, an MPhil student from Manipur, studying in Delhi University, was spat on near North Campus, and was called Caronavirus. Following her, other students from North-East India shared their racial harassment stories.
In a shocking incident, on 22nd March, a 25-year-old woman from Manipur was spat on by a man and called ‘Coronavirus’ in North Campus, around 9 p.m., as she was walking back after getting some groceries.
This incident was then reported to the police and a First Information Report (FIR) was filed in this regard at Mukherjee Nagar Police Station. Speaking to Mojo, the victim said “The man approached me on a white scooty as I was walking, and I could feel that something was about to happen. He then proceeded to stop and spit on me and the paan from his mouth entered my eye and came on my face. For a moment, I was stunned, but as he sped away, I tried running after him but couldn’t catch him as my eyes were burning. My first concern was getting infected, with someone spitting at me at the time when Coronavirus is spreading. I immediately rushed back home, changed my clothes and bathed before lodging a complaint with the Delhi Police. I’m still trying to process what happened, it has been a really traumatising experience for me.”
After the story of the victim was shared on social media, two more victims, who faced the same incident in January came forward with their story.
The victims spoke to DU Beat about the incidents that took place with them. In conditions of anonymity, they said, “It was on the night of 22nd January 2020 at around 7:30 to 8 pm and I was coming back from my friend’s place. It was quite dark at that time and I was all alone. And then suddenly a middle-aged man came on his scooty and spat on me. At first, I thought something had fallen down from the tree but then the smell suddenly hit me and by the time I looked back to see him or his vehicle number, he had already vanished. The feeling was so disgusting and horrible. When I heard about this incident that happened last night I shared the same in a Whatsapp group wherein I came to know that the same thing happened with another girl on the same place later that night.”
The other victim said also described the incident that took place with her. She told DU Beat that, “As I was walking back to my PG, I was walking past the park located near my PG. The streets were empty then and dimly lit. All of a sudden, I saw a man in a scooty driving towards me. I thought he was going to hit me with his scooty and just froze for one sec. Next thing I know, he spat paan all over my face, neck, hair and clothes. I was shellshocked and didn’t move for 10 seconds. When I came back to my senses, I shouted but he had already driven off. Traumatised, I ran into my PG and cried to my friends. They thought that I had fallen in some mud or something since the colour was brownish-red. The smell was utterly strong and disgusting. They cleaned me up and I bathed four times. They informed my PG owner. He came and we all went to the scene where the incident had happened. We planned on reporting it to the police, but the next day, I decided to let it go as I was traumatised by the incident and no longer wanted to ponder upon it.”
“I’m coming forward with my story now so that I could help the person who was attacked on 22nd March, since our descriptions of the attacker match. I just hope that Delhi University’s North Campus is a safe place for us North-Easterners to roam even past 8 at night and I hope that the same incident doesn’t happen to anyone else in the future. No human deserves to be treated this way.” she added.
Initially, both people didn’t think this attack was racially motivated, but after noticing the increasing number of incidents that have taken place in the same manner, it can hardly be a coincidence, since all three times the target were people who were from the North-East.
DU Beat also spoke to Mr Varun Pradhan, a member of the Delhi University’s North Eastern Student Society (NESSDU), “Once I heard of how there were more students were also attacked in a similar manner earlier, I tried contacting the North East Helpline, but couldn’t get through to them. So I called the Mukherjee Nagar Police Station, but they said that it’s too late for an FIR, however, the victims could still file a written complaint and the police will support them thoroughly in this regard.”
Of late, such racially motivated incidents are on the rise across India. It is indeed a shameful situation and such actions should be condemned by all members of the society.
In connection to this incident, the Delhi Police arrested a 40 year old man on Wednesday, 25th March 2020.
Feature Image Credits: Anonymous
Khush Vardhan Dembla