Delhi

Mixed reaction to separate hostel for Northeast students

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Delhi University College cites safety and security as reasons

This past week, one Delhi University college laid the foundation for a hostel that will cater exclusively to female students from the Northeast.

Although safety and security reasons were cited by the college, students from the Northeast had mixed reactions on being given a separate place of residence.

“All of us from the region look different and talk different. When we come to a college here, all we want to do is find acceptance and fit in, which is difficult. So, you find many Northeast students mostly sitting alone in class, eating alone in the canteen and they get treated badly when they are forced to stay in a paying guest accommodation. So they prefer socialising within their community and perhaps will feel safer if they are in a separate hostel,” said Gideon Lepcha, a second-year Northeast student in the Faculty of Management Studies.

Third-year student Debanga Baruah has been staying in a “mixed” hostel since she got here from Assam. She thinks the idea of a separate hostel might be dangerous.

“I think the discrimination will only get worse if you keep students from the Northeast separate. And as far as safety is concerned, being together in one hostel will not really help matters at all,” she added.

Many also felt that a separate hostel will only add to the sense of alienation these students feel, hence prevent them from socialising with others.

“When you move to a new city with people from all over the country, it helps if you mingle with everyone rather than only those from your community. There is a lot to learn from other people. Staying separate only helps encourage stereotypes,” added Gideon.

Student union leaders, however, had a different take on the development.

Taba Doni, vice-president of the Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union, felt this was a good step.

“It is difficult to find accommodation for anyone from the Northeast. So this initiative is good. Discrimination is bound take place whether we live separately or not. At least this way, safe accommodation is guaranteed by the college.”

His sentiments were echoed by Anurag Basumata, a former students’ union leader from Assam.

“It is difficult to find accommodation, especially for girls from the Northeast. This initiative will be helpful for them,” said Anurag.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 7:08:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/mixed-reaction-to-separate-hostel-for-northeast-students/article6577451.ece

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