By Our Special Representative
New Delhi , Mar 26 : On the night of Mar 22 , a 25-year-old woman from Manipur who is pursuing her M-Phil was spat on with Paan and called a ‘corona’ by a man in North-West Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar area.
The woman was going to her home in Vijaynagar after buying grocery from the local market when the incident happened.
A man in his early 50s passed lewd comments on her and when she objected, he spat on her and managed to escape after shouting “Corona”.
The paan juice entered her eyes, including bits of tobacco.
On Wednesday the 50 -year-old man was arrested for allegedly calling a woman ‘coronavirus’ after spitting paan on her face in northwest Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar
The accused has been identified as Gaurav Vohra, a resident of Model Town , here.
On Sunday, the woman lodged a report alleging that a man slowed down his scooter, spat paan on her face and called her “coronavirus” at a street.
A case under IPC section 506 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) was registered at the Mukherjee Nagar police station.
During investigation, police analysed the CCTV footage of Vijay Nagar area and searched for a white colour scooter.
After identifying the scooter, the accused was nabbed yesterday.
The vehicle was recovered from his possession,
Vohra works at a cooker manufacturing factory at Anand Parbat here.
Meawhile ,The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) in its report, “Coronavirus Pandemic: India’s Mongoloid Looking People Face Upsurge Of Racism” (http://www.rightsrisks.org/by-country/india/coronavirus-pandemic-indias-mongoloid-looking-people-face-upsurge-of-racism/) released today stated that in the aftermath of COVID-19 outbreak, there has been massive and unprecedented upsurge of acts of racism and racial discrimination against them across the length and breadth of the country. The reported cited 22 reported cases of racial discrimination or hate crimes since 7 February 2020 to 25 March 2020.
“These incidents are just tip of the iceberg as India’s Mongoloid looking people have been facing discrimination on daily basis and the same do not make news.” – stated Suhas Chakma, Director of the RRAG.
*“Apart from being called “Corona”, “Chinese”, “Chinki”, India’s Mongoloid looking people were spat on and called “coronavirus”, forcibly quarantined despite showing no COVID-19 symptoms because of their looks, denied entry into apartment complex, forced to leave apartment, threatened with eviction from their apartment, forced to leave restaurant to make others comfortable, none wanting to share transport with them, etc.”- also stated Chakma.*
These acts of racism and racial discrimination have taken place in upscale restaurants and campuses of prestigious institutions like Kirori Mal College of Delhi University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an institution of the government of India which prepares school syllabus for students upto 12th Standard under the Central Board of Secondary Education. The incidents had taken place across the length and breadth of the country such as Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, West Bengal and Maharashtra, showing that prejudices and acts of racism and racial discrimination are not confined to particular areas.
*“The advisory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 21.03.2020 to take appropriate action against cases of harassment for North East people is inadequate because there is no law against racism and racial discrimination in India. Police usually invoke Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and Section of 509 (insult to the modesty of women) if the victim is Mongoloid looking woman but there are no provisions when the victim is a male. None of the racially discriminatory terms used against Mongoloid looking people such as “Momos”, “Chinkis” etc are defined as offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989. Further, all Mongoloid looking people such as the Meitis or Tibetans are not listed as Scheduled Tribes to be covered under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. The police are at loss which sections or which laws to invoke given the legal vacuum against acts of racism and racial discrimination.” – further stated Chakma.*
Among the 22 cases, the two emblematic cases of racism and racial discrimination are cited below:
*Nine Naga youths forced to undergo 24 hours quarantine in Ahmadabad, Gujarat despite showing no symptoms because of their physical features*
On 20 March 2020, 24 year old Cathy Chakhesang and her eight colleagues from Nagaland working at a dental insurance company’s call centre had to spend the night in a government quarantine facility meant for suspected patients of the coronavirus disease allegedly because of their Mongoloid looks. They had no physical symptoms of the disease, no foreign travel history, no apparent contact with any laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 patient and none of them ticked any of the boxes that qualify people to be treated as a suspect case. Someone anonymously complained to the Ahmedabad police that these youths from Nagaland could be infected by the novel coronavirus because of their physical features. Police landed up in their office and told the employer that some public had complained about the Naga youths saying that they were carrying the virus because they look like Chinese. The police then allegedly summoned an ambulance, which ferried them to a sports club that has been turned into quarantine centre by the Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation. Chakhesang and her colleagues had to spend the night in the quarantine ward and were let go only on the midnight of 21 March 2020. Ahmedabad police commissioner Ashish Bhatia confirmed the incident.
*74 year old cancer patient Rinzin Dorjee and his daughter Tsering Yangzom denied entry into Apartment complex in Mumbai, Maharashtra as alleged Chinese*
On 16 March 2020, 74 year old Rinzin Dorjee and his daughter Tsering Yangzom from Northeast India were denied entry in Shree Sainath Housing Society at Mulund (East), Mumbai on the suspicion that they hail from China. Mr Dorjee has been a frequent visitor to Mumbai for his cancer treatment and has been staying at the Housing Society for the last three months. However, on 16 March the security guard did not allow him and his daughter to enter the society alleging that they might be infected with the virus. The daughter claimed that the society denied them entry despite showing valid documents.
*Girl from Shillong, Meghalaya made to leave upscale Delhi restaurant to make others comfortable*
In an opinion piece published in East Mojo on 16 March 2020, Pallavi Ghosh, a senior editor at CNN- News 18, wrote about a horrific incident of racial discrimination she was witness to in a restaurant at the upscale Pandara Market of Delhi. The editor has gone to the restaurant to pick up some takeaway when she noticed a girl (from Shillong, Meghalaya) was eating her meal inside the restaurant. A group of ladies walked in and took offence on seeing the girl with Mongoloid features dinning at the restaurant. They created a scene and demanded that the girl be asked to leave or they would call the health department and the police. The helpless girl pleaded that she is not Chinese but from Shillong which is a part of India. Eventually the girl left the restaurant crying.
Chakma also stated key leaders of the Government of India whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah or Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) Dr Jitendra Singh have not made any public statement against these upsurge of racist attacks against the Mongoloid looking people. The statements by political leaders from the North East India like Kiren Rijiju and Tapir Gao are welcome but inadequate as they themselves face the same, and public rebuke needs to come from the Prime Minister himself who can reach out to the masses.
*“India has imposed countrywide lock-down from 25.03.2020 to contain COVID-19; and across the world, COVID-19 has been increasingly creating “Sinophobia” with dire consequences for people who look similar to the Chinese. As the fear and prejudices associated with COVID-19 spreads across the country, India’s Mongoloid looking people are all set to face increased acts of racism and racial discrimination with virtual impunity as there is neither a law nor public rebuke from the key leaders of the government of India against these despicable crimes.” – warned Chakma.*