Trigger Warning – Sensitive content with mentions of Rape and Abuse

On 3 May 2023, an ethnic clash erupted in India’s north-eastern state of Manipur between the Meitei people, the majority of whom live in the Imphal Valley, and the tribal group hill areas, which includes the Kuki and Zo peoples. Many houses and vehicles were burned while many people are forced to leave their homes with their livelihoods destroyed.

 As the ethnic hostilities in Manipur enter their second month, the situation is far from normal. The state is still experiencing violence and terror, with over 50,000 people driven out and 100 people dead. The state, which was once known as the ‘jewel of India’ because of its stunning beauty and beautiful environment, is now making headlines due to the Hill-Valley Divide. Crimes against humanity are on the rise, with people getting targeted purely on the basis of their identity, with no fault of their own.

In times of turmoil, there is also a spark in protests, candle marches, and awareness campaigns about the issue. Such efforts are particularly undertaken by the youth and student community, who are consistently attempting to raise knowledge about the issue.

Thousands of such students from the north eastern states attend Delhi University, and the city itself is home to many others who travel in pursuit of a better life and possibilities. With rising atrocities back at the home state, people here in Delhi are also at a greater risk of attack.

One such instance happened in May 2023.

A group of Kuki students were followed and attacked by a group of 30 other students who identified themselves as belonging to Meitei community.

–according to source

Students from both communities have expressed similar safety worries, leading to a number of peaceful protests in Delhi. These gatherings are intended to provide a safe setting for students to discuss their traumas and experiences, as well as connect with the entire Delhi University circle in order to obtain additional support and aid as needed.

As a result, it’s vital that we give safe platform to these students so that they can share their voices and also raise awareness. While one might search up political data, lookup the main cause of the entire issue on the internet, but this is Manipur Violence from the perspective of those who have experienced the horror firsthand.

This is about their journey and individual experiences.

I’ve been preparing for UPSC for the last two years; I was set to give the paper this time. When the clashes happened, I came to Delhi as it was my center for exams. But I was constantly worried about my family and people who were back at home. I couldn’t sleep the night before my exam. Just hours later, I received the message from our villagers, that they failed to defend our village.  When we left our village we did not even take a blanket, our cattle was still there, we had hopes of returning some day! But I missed my UPSC paper while my home was burned down in Manipur

A former student of Delhi University and a native of Manipur.

We were able to identify numerous issues through our talks with Manipuri students. It also gives rise to many questions in our mind regarding the whole situation. We tackled these curiosities during our conversation.

To begin, know that the entire northeast India is not a demographically and ethnically homogenous region, it has its own fair share of differences and diversity.

Just like north India has Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, is it possible to club them to one? The answer is no. In the same way north east cannot be clubbed together as one. The culture, the food, the language and art of every state differs greatly in the north eastern region too. People since years have been making the mistake of generalizing all the states making assumptions on how we look

– A post graduate Manipuri student from DU.

It was also revealed that ethnic discrimination, scams and derogatory name-calling are also rampant in Delhi.

Rickshwalas used to quote a higher price than the common pricing when I was new to the city. They think I’m a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language because of my appearance, so they can simply cheat me. I learned to ignore it over time, but such treatment makes us feel different in our own nation.

– A fresher from the state of Manipur.

 People are always surprised with my fluency in Hindi, and because I don’t have typical features that usually north-east Indians have, people again find it hard to believe that I come from North-east region.

– A student from Assam.

Hearing such incidents reveals how deeply rooted this mistreatment is in our ideas and behaviour. Furthermore, these students suggested to their friends that removing assumptions and bias and just asking questions about their state and culture is an excellent way to help people feel at ease rather than striking up dialogues that are full of assumptions.

Secondly, it is crucial to understand and know how the various communities interacted in the state of Manipur. What, for example, triggered this abrupt violence and the divide between two populations that had previously coexisted peacefully? Or is this simply the culmination of the separation and discrimination that existed between the two tribes?

We got conflicting answers for this – It can be observed that some people reminisce about the peace and harmony they shared in their daily lives while others locate us to the issues simmering on the back burner.

We mingle together but there was always some kind of divide that I felt while growing up, this was specially in the case of language for me.

– A first year Manipuri student from DU.

The source emphasized in this conversation how language was a big issue because kids in Manipur had to learn many languages including their mother tongue, Hindi, English, and in certain cases Manipuri if that was not spoken by their tribe. The students describe it as a “pressure that they had to deal with their entire primary school life.”

We were always proud of the unity shared between the two communities, in school we would dress up in our traditional attires and celebrate each other’s festivals, It was something we cherished. After the violence started, it created gaps in our personal bonds as well. My friend from the other community, we don’t even talk these days. It is definitely different now. I don’t know if it will ever be like old days.

– A research student from DU.

This discourse, on the other hand, provides a viewpoint of ‘unity in variety,’ in which some people cherished their shared culture and customs by not letting their differences infiltrate. However, the fallout of the ethnic confrontations has disrupted the formerly shared unity. At this point, one could ask if life will ever return to normal in either of these communities, or if the conflict will leave its terrible imprint.

When it comes to the clash, ever since the ethnic riots began, there have been new concerns among both populations and the students we questioned discussed how the word used to describe them is not only offensive but rather an “attack on their identity,” as one source put it.

For instance, Kuki students expressed their displeasure with the harsh labels being used to describe them – including ‘illegal immigrants’ and ‘armed terrorists’.

My grandfather and father served in the Indian army; they are very much Indian and love their country, but they are now being targeted as foreigners and asked to leave the state.

 – a former student of DU.

Such anecdotes make one wonder if terms like ‘Illegal immigrants’, ‘terrorists’ and ‘outsiders’ should be used loosely in extremely sensitive situations like this one or if questions of citizenship supersede considerations of humanity and respect towards communities?

Not only students, but intellectuals all around the country, have been arguing against the injustice of using such labels against a group. There has been recent news of illegal migration into the states of Manipur and Assam from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar, but students believe that this issue should be handled cautiously rather than aggressively. Meanwhile, the government can create preparations to protect its national interests and borders, but we must all be mindful of the language we use to communicate with one another.

While people are being target solely on the basis of their identity, crimes against Women and children are also rising, and thousands are being driven from their homes. There is no bitterness between Kuki and Meitei students in any of our talks with them. Everyone wants solutions to their problems and for this mayhem to end. Nevertheless, what we noticed was that they cared most for the lives of innocent people.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to the place where so many were murdered. I don’t know if I’ll be able to forgive.

– A student from Manipur

The education of the children is at risk and even those who are unaffected and safe are under emotional stress as a result of what they see on the news every day. I have no harsh thoughts towards my friends from the other community, but I’m concerned about what will happen if the situation does not change.

– A student from the north-eastern community.

This section of our discussions gets us to a place where we all reflect on how the differences have taken a nasty turn, and there is now a larger concern about implications of these fights. The once insignificant division has now penetrated people’s lives, hurting not just their livelihoods including safety and education, but also their mental health. Trauma and fear are significant obstacles that many people are still unable to overcome.

Previously, seeing someone from my state gave me a sense of familiarity and comfort, but now I’m not sure if the stranger I’m gazing at is from my community or not. I’m worried about my safety. Now, there’s a sense of fear.

– a fresher from DU.

While Manipur continues to seek hope and peace, Manipuri students are dissatisfied with how the mainstream media has failed to report the situation fairly and how many people have remained silent on the subject. They are concerned that the false narratives disseminated by the media channels will worsen the situation. Not only this, but also sharing information which is not based on facts is harmful to both the communities. Anyone on the internet searching and reading on this subject has to use the sources very wisely. ‘Misinformation is our biggest enemy in such times’, as stated by one of the students.

We have been organizing peace talks and discussions in the campus regarding the issue and I also frequently post on social media which I feel is very important to do in order to educate people who don’t know what is going on in Manipur. For all outsiders – We don’t want you to be ignorant about the issue. What we need the most right now is to support us and listen to us. Simply reaching out to and making an effort to understand the situation will help us a lot.

– a post-graduate Manipuri student from DU.

Land, demography, the fight for ST status, development inequity, and the complexity of who is truly on the receiving end are all issues that have multiple answers. There’s a Kuki and a Meitei version!

We don’t know what will happen next, but there’s a lot more at stake than just land: personal relationships, lives, scenic beauty, resources, the economy, and, most importantly, humanity.  Regardless of differences, what everyone shares is a sense of hope and the need for peace. History has shown that in times of crisis, kindness has always helped people endure the storm. Whether it’s the Covid-19 pandemic, or one of the world’s great conflicts, a natural disaster – there are always episodes of kindness and humanity that have made a difference. This is similar to the efforts of students who exemplify the optimism that Manipur requires right now!

This was Manipur’s chapter through the eyes of students, as they simply wish to raise more awareness and have hopes to end this chaos and heal from this harsh experience.

Video Suggestions – Survival story of Agnes Neikhohat, one of the instances of Crime against Women.

Read Also – Protest in Delhi School of Economics against the attack on tribal students in the campus.

List of additional sources on the issue :




Image credits : Economic Times

Priya Agrawal

When it comes to fashion, it would be safe to say that the northeasterners know how to do it right.

The people from the northeastern region of India have a distinct sense of style, which is something that the fashion- conscious students of DU can learn from. We talked to several fashionable northeastern students and they shared
with us the following tips:

1. Wear a tiny necklace with a small pendant (say, a ring) which looks cute and is practical, as opposed to big pieces. Accessorise, but don’t over-accessorise. Usually a silver necklace goes with all skin tones.
2. Dress according to your body. What looks good on a T.V. star may or may not look good on you. Take into consideration your physical aspects like height, body shape, and skin tone.
3. Take inspiration from wherever you can, but adapt it to suit yourself (in the case of the Northeastern people, South Asian dramas being the inspiration).
4. The price of an outfit doesn’t guarantee quality. You can get outfits for a few hundred rupees, provided you look in the right nooks and crannies. They suggest places like Sarojini Nagar where you can bargain to your heart’s content or H&M which conducts sales every now and then.
5. Choose comfort over everything else. A compliment lasts seconds, but you’ll be wearing what you are donning for the whole day. You won’t look good if you don’t feel good.
6. Finally, experimenting with your wardrobe is the key. Girls can switch between skinny jeans with crop tops and pleated skirts with collared shirts, while boys can switch between khakis with shirts and shorts with vests.

The people from places like Mizoram and Nagaland have access to thrift shops from where they can get a tee for as little as INR 10! That makes that an outfit in less than INR 50. Unfortunately, there is little scope for that happening in Delhi. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t let your inner northeastern fashionista come to the fore. Look good, have fun experimenting, and most of all, be comfortable.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Maumil Mehraj
[email protected]

It is early July 2015 when Martha, a student from Nagaland studying in Hansraj College, got called “Chinese” by two men as they rushed past her in a bike through BD Estate,  a relatively posh area near North Campus. Three months later, during election campaigning for the Delhi University Students’ Association (DUSU) elections, Martha spotted one of those two men, garlanded and surrounded by a gang of loud sloganeers who were going from one college to another. He had his picture on hundreds of the same posters pasted on walls, behind e-rickshaws, and even on streetlight poles. In Vijaynagar, an area densely populated with North-Eastern students of DU, he was seen calling his Northeastern “brothers and sisters” to vote for him to see “progressive” policies implemented by DUSU. So much for duplicity and dissimulation.

During the campaigning for DUSU in August 2017, one candidate fielded by a particular student political unit went ahead to claim in his speech, “The North-East people are benefiting because of the quota which helps them get into DU.”

This perfidiously flawed statement made by a student political leader who believes in the existence of a “quota” for North-Eastern students is as vulnerable to laceration as is the laceration of a ripe tomato by a razor-sharp knife. Seeing this incredulous level of awareness of political leaders in DU, it is not startling that out of 20,000 North Eastern students, less than 5,000 cast their vote in the DUSU elections. These statistics were shared by the North East Students’ Society.

“During DUSU elections, tall promises are made for NE students. But nothing is ever done,” remarked Dr Kamei Aphun, Professor of Sociology at Delhi School of Economics. However, sometimes, student political leaders hesitate to even raise the issues of Northeastern students, let alone make tall promises. The issue of the murder of a 20 year-old student studying in Delhi, Nido Tania, provides evidence for the same. On 29th January 2014, Nido Tania died of severe lung and brain injuries from a racial attack inflicted upon him in a South Delhi market. It had led to a national debate on discrimination against ‘Northeasterners’ in Delhi’s educational institutions.

As activists and students expressed their outrage over Nido’s death with candle-light vigils all over Delhi, only a handful of the student political units took up this issue  in the DUSU elections of the subsequent year. “Were they afraid that they might lose their vote bank of “mainstream” Indian students if they pressed this issue too much?,” questions Tenzin, a DU graduate from Zakir Hussain Delhi College.

Alana Golmei, founding member of the Northeast Support Centre and helpline, says she gets half-a-dozen distress calls a week. The existence of such a helpline again makes us question the approachability of  student political units at DU and the DUSU, at large.

Samson Marak, a DU graduate, recounts a painful experience, “When I was a fresher in Ramjas College, I had faced racial abuse numerous times. This one time, mustering up all my courage, I remember marching into the DUSU office to complain about the abuse I was facing. I should have known better, for the first thing that the people did there was make fun of my dyed blonde hair.”

It is perhaps wishful thinking to expect much from student political units when even central authorities have been ineffective in assimilating this ethnically distinct population of students. In 2007, the Delhi police published a much-criticised booklet, advising migrants from the northeast to avoid wearing revealing clothes and to not cook their native foods, such as bamboo shoots and fermented soy beans, for fear of upsetting their Indian neighbors who were unfamiliar with those smells. “Campaigners at the DUSU elections, just after the publication of this booklet didn’t seem to have much of a problem with the same. They went  as far as espousing this booklet in their manifesto readings”, testifies Jordan Warbah, a Hindu College graduate who was  in his final year of college then.

When asked about this bone of contention between DU student politics and ‘Northeasterners’, Sanjay Hazarika, Director, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia made an important observation. He said, “It takes great courage to do what North-Eastern students in Delhi are doing. Their ancestors might have opposed the idea of India by holding onto an impossible dream of freedom and separation, but many younger people these days are engaging with the idea of India and reshaping it.”

Highlighting the role that student political units of DU can play in creating a more inclusive student community, he added, “The wider arena of student politics needs to recognise this phenomenon. The process of building goodwill and understanding remains a work in progress.”


Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times


Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

[email protected]

Four students of The College of Vocational Studies, Delhi University, have been suspended and an ex-student’s entry in college campus has been banned after they physically assaulted a fellow student in the campus. Going by the evidence available the college committee has taken the decision pending the completion of the inquiry. D Hriinii, a student of CVS, was walking out of the college after his classes on Friday when he was attacked by a group of youths waiting at the gate, said his brother D Apao. Hriinii. He was rushed to a nearby hospital.

A student shared some details about what had happened. Hrijni was the fourth student from the northeast beaten up that day. Three girls and a boy were playing cards in the field when a basketball hit them. The boy called some of his friends and they beat the guys who were playing basketball. Later they beat up Hirijini though he was not involved. Another student from northeast was also beaten up

A FIR was lodged where seven students were named. According to the principal of CVS, the college will take austere action against the students. “Of the five students named, one is an ex-student and he will not be allowed inside the campus. Three students who were identified — one from third year and two from first year were suspended with immediate effect till further orders. We are trying to identify one more student as they have just given his surname,” said the principal.

The SHO and ACP visited the college and met the students from various states of the northeast including the coordinator. The students alleged they have named seven students in the FIR and action has been taken only against four so far and that more students were involved in the assault.