north east students


The following piece may be upsetting for some readers. TW// violence, racism, racial discrimination.

On September 20, 2023, a racially-motivated attack in Vijayanagara left a North-Eastern student from Hindu College critically injured on his way to a football match, leading to the team’s match forfeiture. The incident prompted condemnation and calls for unity against discrimination against Northeast students and individuals in Delhi.

On September 20, 2023, a football match was scheduled to occur at the DDA Sports Ground in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, with the combined teams of Hindu College and Ramjas College against Hansraj College. Unfortunately, en route to the match, the football captain, a North-Eastern student from Hindu College, was brutally assaulted in a racially motivated attack by a mob in New Gupta Colony, Vijayanagara.

On the way to the metro station, the student was subjected to derogatory racial slurs. Following a verbal altercation, a group of local individuals arrived on a motorcycle and escalated the situation further. The victim was physically attacked with a knife, sustaining injuries to his neck, forehead, and facial areas. The severity of the attack left him in critical condition, requiring immediate medical attention.

The authorities have identified the four perpetrators and arrested them accordingly. Due to the attack, the football team was forced to forfeit the match as well, resulting in their disqualification from further participation in the tournament. A witness who observed the incident from their balcony, remarked:

Everything unfolded in the blink of an eye… Surprisingly, very few individuals rushed to assist, and by that time, it was nearly over.

In light of the incident, the North-East Cell of Hindu College issued a statement condemning the incident and urging concerned authorities to take strict action. In a post on Instagram dated September 20, 2023, they made the following statement:

We are deeply saddened and outraged by the racially motivated attack against a North-eastern student from Hindu College. Such acts of violence and discrimination have no place in our society as a whole. In the face of hatred, we must unite as a community to fight against racism, discrimination, and violence and hatred.

Several organisations, including SFI Hindu College, WDC Hindu College, and the North East Society of Zakir Hussain Delhi College (M), have issued statements in solidarity with the victim. The North-East Cell of Hindu College has issued a statement requesting everyone to respect the privacy of the survivor.

We kindly urge everyone to refrain from sharing any images or information pertaining to this situation. We acknowledge that certain individuals are disseminating such content, so please remain vigilant in safeguarding the survivor’s privacy and preventing any disrespectful conduct. The relevant authorities are actively addressing this issue, and we are committed to ensuring that the perpetrators face the most severe penalties possible.

This incident is not an isolated one but rather sheds light on the discrimination faced by Northeastern students and individuals in Delhi. Another student from Hindu College urged,

I personally am deeply distressed and agitated by the incident happening today since I have faced the same kind of racism in Delhi. This victim is a warrior, a true hero who fights not just for himself but all NE students who have been racially abused, mocked and ridiculed. What I want to let you all know is that being students of DU, such kind of actions show a person’s lack of respect towards other humans and the intention to hurt their sentiments. I’m not asking for any special care and pampering here but let us all treat each other equally with truth, justice and peace.

Read also: Hill vs Valley: Humanitarian Catastrope through the Eyes of Manipuri Students

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Photo Archive

Sri Sidhvi Dindi
[email protected]

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 on got approved on 8th January by India‘s Lower House of Parliament that would grant residency and citizenship rights to undocumented non-Muslim immigrants. Why has this Bill suddenly come under the lens?

The North-East people have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 for the past couple of weeks. Before we get behind the reasons for it, let’s try to find out what is the entire fuss is all about.

The aforementioned bill, which has been introduced in the Lok Sabha aims to amend the existing Citizenship Act of 1955. It says that people who have illegally migrated and are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, are automatically eligible for citizenship and will be granted residence. It provides citizenship to those who have been forced to leave their countries and take shelter in India because of religious persecution or fears of persecution. The Bill also says that those migrants who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014, cannot be deported or imprisoned.

Under this amendment, the wait time for citizenship is also reduced. The bill reduces the time to 6 years from 11 years for citizenship for the people from different religions and the countries.

Now, what is the Citizenship Act of 1955? According to it, an illegal immigrant is identified as the one who enters the country without proper travel documents and it also includes those people who do possess valid documents but stay beyond their permitted time period. They are prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship.

The Assam Accord of 1985 is also an important part of this entire issue. The people of Assam, led by the All Assam Students’ Union, demanded the identification and deportation of the illegal immigrants. Also, illegal migrants who had entered Assam from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, were to be deported. This accord was an agreement between the central government of India and the students’ union. The NRC (National Register of Citizens) update exercise that started last year was conducted in line with the Assam AccordThis ongoing NRC-updating process will be badly affected if the bill gets passed. So, once the NRC exercise would be done all the people who turn out to be verified illegal immigrants will be deported back.

Now, you may ask the reason behind all these hunger strikes and effigy-burning.  All the North-Eastern states either share the border or are in close proximity to Bangladesh. Most of the immigration to India happens from Bangladesh. This substantial rise in the number of immigrants became a serious issue for the indigenous people of the North-East.  And so, many different tribal regions made laws that restricted the immigrants or any non-tribals for that matter, from buying land or staying in their land indefinitely.

Secondly, the Bill only mentions granting residence and citizenship to Hindu immigrants and not Muslim immigrants. This raises serious questions about India’s claim of being a secular state. It violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners. Differentiating between the people along religious lines, especially when it comes to citizenship issues, would be in violation of the Constitution. 

At this point, you can’t even believe that the government wants to protect the persecuted. This is evident in the way the central government handled Rohingya Muslims.

There is another loophole in this. According to a Wire Article, there is confusing terminology associated with the bill. First, the bill seems to term minority religious people as migrants, when the matter isn’t as simple as one would imagine. A significant of them are refugees, not migrants. The word migration refers to the voluntary movement of people from one place to another, primarily for the purpose of better economic prospects. On the other hand, seeking refuge is an act of involuntary, often enforced shifting of people from one place (or nation) to another, due to situations like war, ethnic cleansing, etc. The concerns of the refugees are mainly based on human rights and safety, not economic advantages. The purpose of the introduction of the Bill, as stated by the government, is to provide shelter to vulnerable, religiously-persecuted people whose fundamental human rights are at risk. But here, the correct terminology is most important, because the laws and policies for migrants and refugees are completely different.

The thing we need to keep in mind before we take into account everything, giving asylum to refugees on humanitarian grounds and providing permanent citizenship to them are two very different things. The government needs to think wisely on such a sensitive issue.

-Disha Saxena

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-Image Credits: The Sentinel