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Coronavirus blot on Northeast students

Now and then they complain about being addressed as 'coronavirus' in other states of the country

By Manoj Kumar Ojha in Doomdooma
  • Published 18.03.20, 12:37 AM
  • Updated 18.03.20, 12:37 AM
  • a min read
Students speak in the video. Picture by Manoj Kumar Ojha

Northeast students talk about poor education infrastructure in their states which prompts them to move out of the region to study, but they have to face discrimination in other parts of India due to their physical features.

Now and then they complain about being addressed as “coronavirus” in other states of the country since the outbreak of the disease in China recently.

“In our Northeast region, including Arunachal Pradesh, there is no adequate infrastructure. So we are here to study. Where else will we go to? We are the future of our country and should be encouraged,” a girl from the Northeast studying in Punjab was seen saying in a video.

This correspondent has the video where a group of northeastern students in Punjab were shown narrating their plight.

A group of friends from the Northeast studying in Chunni Kalan, Punjab, shot a video in which they also claim that not all but several locals tease them by calling them “coronavirus”.

“You please check the map of India. Northeast is an integral part of India. We Indians are brothers and sisters. We do not have anything to do with coronavirus, It has come from China. Our looks are different, but we, the people of the Northeast, have no relation with China,” one of the students said.

Another student says that they had gone to Punjab to study and they should not be subjected to such utter humiliation. The students lamented that the north Indians are highly ignorant about Northeast culture. “You should be happy that India has different kind of people. However, instead of being proud you demoralise us which affects our study,” one of the students said.

Another girl from Tripura says: “ We wear masks as preventive measures.”

A similar sentiment was echoed by prominent activist Alana Golmei. “The students can go anywhere to study. They should be treated nicely,” Irot Tanti, secretary, All Tea Tribes Students’ Association, told this correspondent.

Students return: More than 10,000 youths of Udalguri, including students who live in Bangalore, Chennai and Kerala, have started to leave for Assam. On Tuesday, a health department team carried out screening tests of all passengers at Udalguri rail station.

Additional reporting by Shajid Khan in Udalguri