If the sordid news of a student being beaten to death by fellow college mates in itself wasn’t enough. When one hears that it was regionally charged, it makes one wonder about our country as a whole. It’s nothing new that people from the rainbow states of India have felt alienated and this is an understatement. The recent protests on social media as well as on the streets of Delhi , Bangalore, etc. Should at least make us Indians question why does my fellow countryman feel alien in his own country?

Coming back to what may now be seen as the tipping point for our people in the seven-sister states. 19-year-old Loitam Richard, a second-semester student of the Acharya NRV School of Architecture in Bangalore North, was found dead in his hostel bed on the afternoon of April 18. The initial report that Loitam Richard was beaten to death by some senior hostel mates when he changed the television channel while they were watching an IPL match has been refuted by the family members now and this opens up a whole set of new questions, for which there are no answers as yet. However this is besides the point. The fact, the heart breaking cold fact is, the life of a young man, pursuing a degree in Architecture has been snuffed out and that it was not a natural death is clear. He was killed, prima facie. Brutality is written all over the death of the young man and this is what is galling.

Now since this is still a story in progress, we cannot draw too many conclusions. But what is certain is that if this indeed was a “HATE-CRIME” as most people back in one part of our country are taking it as, it is a dark time for our nation. Some people back in the undisputedly most beautiful part of India ,and I am not talking of the land but its beautiful people, argue that they saw this coming.

In 2007 Delhi Police booklet suggesting a code of conduct for students and visitors from the northeast had sparked outrage among people from the region. While a section of the people from the northeast termed the booklet titled “Security Tips for northeast students/ visitors in Delhi”, issued by the west district police, as “helpful”, many had taken strong exception to what they described as its “insensitive” advise. The booklet advised girls from the region to avoid wearing any “revealing dress” and had suggestions about cooking “smelly” food without creating a “ruckus” in the neighborhood. I leave the interpretation of the issue to you but to me even then it had seemed disgusting hailing from Assam myself.

It is time when we should all reflect on ourselves as a society. Before we call the boy/girl next to us with oriental looks as a “chinki”, we should weigh that against the probability that this girl/boy may also be an amazing musician, athlete, orator, dancer and so many other characteristics that should, define him. Are we as a society so shallow? What ever happened to unity in diversity we learned in school?

Growing up I always believed that the chicken neck was only on the map and that it didn’t really matter, but such incidents are indeed making me doubt myself. And I am not the only one.

By Manas Dadheech

(A Minerva M Writer)
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