In what appears to be a racially motivated attack, a group of men beat up a first-year college student from Arunachal Pradesh at a busy South Delhi market on Wednesday, leading to his death a day later.

The victim, Nido Taniam, is the son of Nido Pavitra, Congress MLA and Parliamentary Secretary in Arunachal Pradesh’s Health and Family Welfare Department.

The incident happened after some locals allegedly mocked at Mr. Nido’s hairstyle and called him “Chinese.”

“Mr. Nido asked for directions to a friend’s house at one of the shops in the market. Some workers standing there made fun of his blonde hair. He told them not to laugh at him, but they did not listen to him. In a fit of rage, he perhaps banged the shop’s counter, breaking the glass,” Arunachal Pradesh Bhavan Chief Resident Commissioner Avinash Mishra said here.

At this, seven or eight men hit Mr. Nido with sticks.

According to friends, that night he woke up at 1 a.m. to drink water. But, when he did not wake up the next morning, they took him to hospital, where he was declared dead.

Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi told reporters that based on preliminary evidence “you can’t call it a hate crime.” The police have registered a case of murder, but no arrests have been made so far.

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