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Message of tolerance delivered on cycle

- Manipur girl to tour New Delhi to raise awareness against racial discrimination

Imphal, March 6: A young girl from Manipur’s remote Jiribam subdivision will tour the national capital on a bicycle to protest racial discrimination against people from the Northeast and also to spread the message of peace, love and unity.

Sougaijam Bidyalakshmi Leima, a second-year college student, will be cycling through every nook and corner of New Delhi, which witnessed a series of “hate crimes” on northeastern people in the recent past.

Her campaign comes in the wake of the killing of Nido Tania, a student of Arunachal Pradesh, rape of a minor girl from Manipur and assaults on boys and girls from the Northeast in the national capital.

Imphal Solidarity Group, a citizens’ body, today flagged off Bidyalakshmi’s tour, named “Delhi cycling campaign against racial attacks on India’s northeastern people,” from Manipur Press Club here.

Accompanied by her father S. Iboton and some family members, Bidyalakshmi left the city on an Imphal-Delhi flight this afternoon. Student organisations of the Northeast based in New Delhi will facilitate and co-ordinate her campaign, which will begin tomorrow.

“We have been witnessing rising incidents of racial discrimination of people from our region. I want to represent Manipur in particular and the Northeast in general in expressing our sentiments and concern about these incidents during by the cycling campaign,” Bidyalakshmi said.

She also said she wanted to spread the message of peace and love among the people living in New Delhi so that they understand the Northeast more and respect the people from the region.

This is the second cycling tour for Bidyalakshmi. She toured the states of the Northeast last year, riding nearly 4,000km on bicycle, beginning August 21. The tour was to spread the message of stopping violence against women.

She undertook the first cycling tour to contribute in the fight to end gender violence.

Responding to a question, Bidyalakshmi said she had no plans to meet any government authority or political leaders during her cycling tour in New Delhi.

“I want to meet the people and talk to them in the hope that we understand one another and end such racial discrimination,” she said.

Bidyalakshmi has the full support of her family in the venture. She is the fourth of five siblings. Her father is the chief functionary of Child Welfare Ashram, a children’s home at Jiribam, located 222km from Imphal.

“My daughter’s tour will spread the message of peace, love and unity among the people residing in the national capital and those coming from the Northeast. She is worried about the increasing incidents of racism on northeastern people in other parts of the country,” Iboton said.


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