Recent incidents of crime against women hailing from the North-East have once again brought into focus the harassment — sexual, physical and mental — that people, especially girls, from that region face here in the Capital day in and day out.
According to an official of the North-East Support Centre and Helpline, the latest incident is the third such targeting a North-East girl this month.
“We receive a number of complaints about sexual harassment. Many North-East people also complain of racial discrimination. It is the mind-set of the people in Delhi that needs to be changed,” says Madhu Chandra, spokesperson of the Centre.
“We have submitted a memorandum to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit demanding a CBI inquiry into the killing of the 19-year-old girl in Munirka this past weekend as well as immediate steps to ensure safety for the North-East community living in the National Capital Region,” he adds.
Most girls from that region complain that they have been derided by catcalls and snide remarks by random passers-by on the roads and streets here.
“Thankfully I have not had any horrible experience till date. But there have been several cases when men walking or driving past me have teased me or said something offensive,” says Evelina Lahruaizeli from Mizoram, a student of Jesus and Mary College in New Delhi.
“However, I was better prepared for this city because the students’ union from our State counselled us back home on how we must move in groups and not venture alone in Delhi. We have also been given a helpline number to call the office-bearers in times of distress,” she adds.
Makepeace Sitlhou, an M.A. student at Delhi University who has been living in the Capital for well over ten years, says she and her friends have had several such unpleasant experiences.
“Such incidents have been happening for a long time. It is just that the media has begun covering them now. It ultimately boils down to the social conditioning of a person. We must have workshops in schools and colleges to teach children to respect people from different cultures, especially women. Otherwise, they carry prejudiced attitudes throughout their lives,” she says.