New Delhi: Students from the northeastern states, demanding justice over Nido Tania’s killing, called off their protest yesterday after the Delhi Police assured them of speedy investigations.
A delegation of students union also met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The protest was held at the Lajpat Nagar market in south Delhi where Nido Tania, 19, was mercilessly beaten up by two shopkeepers Wednesday afternoon following a row over his appearance and clothing. He died at a hospital Thursday.
Students from Arunachal Pradesh had threatened that they would hold an indefinite protest.
“The Delhi Police have accepted our demands and assured that investigation will be speeded up so we have called off our protest. We are also meeting Arvind Kejriwal to discuss the matter,” said J T Tagam, former president of Arunachal Pradesh students union.
Scores of protestors held placards, raised slogans against discrimination and demanded justice. Nido Tania was the son of Arunachal Pradesh Congress legislator Nido Pavitra.
“It is a shocking incident and it is not the first time. It is not just about people from northeast, people from outside always face discrimination here,” said a protestor.
Taniam, the son of a state legislator, was found dead a day later, triggering fury among rights activists, students and migrants from the young student’s home state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Angry protesters carrying placards and banners gathered at the same marketplace Saturday to demand a proper probe into Taniam’s death and highlight their “routine racial profiling”.
“We are not animals. Please respect our feelings. We respect yours,” Sabaduni, General Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh student union, told reporters.
Taniam, whose father is a Congress lawmaker in the Arunachal Pradesh state legislature, was studying in Jalandhar in neighbouring Punjab state and had travelled to Delhi for a holiday.
His friends say that while at the market he stopped at a confectionery shop for directions, where he was taunted over his hair colour by the men, who then attacked him with sticks and iron rods. He was taken away by the police but was reportedly dropped at the same place where he was first attacked.
Friends allege Taniam was beaten for a second time by the same group of people, leading to severe internal injuries.
Another protestor said that they “want Delhi chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) to deliver justice to us”.
A group of people from the northeastern states also met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Harsh Vardhan.
“I hope prime minister (Manmohan Singh), home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde) and chief minister (Kejriwal) will rise to the occasion,” the BJP leader said.
Activists and people from the northeast termed it a “racial attack” while the region’s parliamentarians said they would take up the matter with the prime minister.
Lok Sabha MP and Sikkim Democratic Front spokesperson P D Rai yesterday condemned the incident, saying the state’s people were “horrified” on knowing about Tania’s death and its causes as it played out on TV and social media.
“We wholeheartedly condemn this kind of racist slur and violence that happened in the middle of a major market in New Delhi,” Rai said in a statement.
“We observe with concern that this kind of situation happens in Delhi every now and then,” it said.
The statement added that the Northeast MPs Forum will be meeting Kejriwal, urging him to take action against the culprits.
“We would like that this kind of situation does not ever arise for any northeastern student or person.”