Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, people of the Northeast have been facing racism and discrimination from the rest of the country. People from Northeast have become the target for racial discrimination as the coronavirus pandemic induces panic across India. Recently, there was an incident which went viral over night where a Manipuri women had been spat on and called ‘Corona’ by a middle aged man, the incident sparked outrage for racism upon the Northeast people. Amidst the outbreak of the deadly diseases, cases of racial discrimination have been on trend, just because the Northeast people are mongoloid race and have a different face features from rest of the country. These issues are not newly known, racial discrimination upon the Northeast people have been an emerging issue since the outspread of Northeast people to other states of India. The issue remain ignored and injustice has been the only response towards this type of absurdity act. Students of Northeast opt to stay outside their states to acquire their higher studies. Despite their expectation of being equally treated by the fellow citizens of other states, they become victims of racial discrimination and this has an adverse impact upon their mental health which distracts them from their studies and compelled them to return home without completing their studies. Because of lack of opportunities for employment and education in their own states, youths of Northeast choose to settle outside. But, they are never in peace as they live there with the fear of being stigmatised, harassed, discriminated, abused and ill treated based on their appearance. Prejudices and lack of awareness about Northeast people could be the major cause for discrimination. Even though the Government or academic circles doesn’t recognised, racial ideology in Indian Society is experienced by the North East people on a daily basis. There are still many citizens who didn’t accept the equality and fundamental rights which have been mentioned in the Indian Constitution. As a responsible citizen it is our duty to believe in equality and justice, not neglecting the fact that every Indian is equal before the law of the land. However, the report of media and news reveals the evidence of racial discrimination against Northeast people in many aspects. Referring to Article 21, which says “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. Fundamental Right to life and personal liberty on every person is conferred by the article and it covers all citizen of India. However, it would be incorrect to say that this theory is practically applied when it comes to Northeast people. Because of the improper section of law that specifically addresses racist remarks, police officers becomes unaware of what sections under the IPC can be used to file the complaint. This could be the main reason why the issue remains unaddressed and it would not be wrong to say that there is discrimination against Northeast people even in the legal system. Much discrimination is faced by the Northeast people but under the law of the land, only few are punished which clearly shows that they are being discriminated even in the legal system. To stop the act of racial discrimination, it is believed that separate law for an-racial discrimination should be passed by the Parliament and implement to all the States of India. The state government should sponsor campaign and awareness on Northeast Discrimination where the police should also be proper trained to protect the rights of the Northeast people. If racial discrimination happens to occur on a daily basis without appropriate measures implemented, it would hinder the progress for millions of people around the world. Racism generates depression; it doesn’t just add stress to individual as it had a lot of more ill affects upon the psychological health, it can cause low self-esteem, looses in a psychological sense and a sense of helplessness. This issue is to be not taken casually; it could be very dangerous as there have been cases where students commit suicide due to racism, discrimination, because they feel isolated, hated, not accepted by their own society or even worthless.
Talking about the present situation that we are facing today, in the times of corona virus pandemic, it is important for all of us to fight against the disease being united as one rather than discriminating each other on the basis of race. Just because the deadly disease was originated in Wuhan, China and the North Eastern people of India has an alike facial features with the Chinese, it is not appropriate to discriminate the North Eastern people through name-calling such as ‘corona’. Being a responsible citizen, we should be aware about our own people and this illogical stereotyping should be stopped by any means to protect our relationship of being a united citizen. We, as a responsible citizen should contribute by changing our mindset to treat everyone equally regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language or religion or any other status. Special measures should be adopted by the State to prevent the rise of racial discrimination and also steps should be taken to eliminate conditions that cause or help to perpetuate racial discrimination. “Our true Nationality is Mankind”—H.G Wells.