Post mortem has made it clear it is homicide, says Richard's mother

The reported bludgeoning to death of a Manipuri boy in Bangalore has aggravated a simmering discontent and the sense of discrimination among northeast students studying in other States.

The charge of police inaction in Richard Loitam's case has triggered protests in all big cities, and police and public leaders are worried that this incident may be exploited by some elements to intensify the campaign against migrant workers in this region.

Prompted by the growing clamour for justice, Manipur Home Minister G. Gaihangam has written to his Karnataka counterpart, urging action. But there has been no response.

On Sunday, a sit-in and candlelight vigil were held in many cities, including Imphal.

Vidyapati Loitam, mother of the 19-year-old student of the Acharya's NRV School of Architecture, said the post mortem report had made clear that it was a case of homicide. “We demand justice,” she said, addressing those who had assembled to mourn her son. Students from all northeastern States have joined the protests in many cities.

The police worry over reprisal campaigns being mounted in Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya to weed out foreigners and outsiders. While there is a demand in Manipur for reintroduction of the Inner Line Permit System to screen such persons, Meghalaya has opened cells in all districts to detect them. Several organisations in Nagaland have expressed concern at the presence of foreigners and outsiders in some towns.

In Manipur, several migrant workers have been shot dead in the past 20 years. Some militant groups have asked house owners not to let out rooms to these labourers. The police have advised them not to go out of the city limits.

Three Manipuris were molested and mugged in Delhi on the night of April 27. Modhu Chandra, spokesperson of the North East Support Centre and Helpline, in a statement, said a Tangkhul tribal girl was returning home from her office at Gurgaon, when two persons molested her. On hearing her screams, some tribal boys rushed to her rescue. But local residents beat them up, saying they had raised a false alarm. The police refused to register a case, alleges Mr. Chandra.

The same night a Tangkhul tribal boy, Joshua Muivah, was robbed of his cash and all valuables and beaten up while returning home from office.

The Vasant Vihar police have registered a case. Another Manipuri boy was also mugged and his cash and valuables were snatched. In this instance also, no arrest was made.

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