In yet another likely racist attack on people from the Northeast, tow call-centre employee from Nagaland were beaten up in the early hours of Thursday after being allegedly detained by local men in Gurgaon’s Sikandarpur village. The assailants also chopped off the hair of one of the victims, Awang Newme, a call centre worker.
After being denied admission in two Gurgaon hospitals on being rescued by a friend, the two victims were admitted to the Gurgaon Civil Hospital. Newme, 25, was later referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital in a “critical” condition.
Gurgaon Police Commissioner Alok Mittal, however, called it a drunken brawl. “It was a drunken brawl and not a hate crime. Raids are being conducted,” he said on Thursday.
The incident comes a day after three youths from the Northeast were assaulted in Bangalore.
Newme said he was leaving the residence of his friend Aloto, 22, around 11.30 pm when he was approached by the six local men and invited for a drink. “They asked me to get my friend and also call other friends to have drinks with them. But after some time, they started beating us and I didn’t know why. They beat us with cricket bats and hockey sticks. They belted me all over the body and forced us to keep drinking. After some time, my friend managed to escape. I escaped around 4 am,” Newme told Newsline at his hospital bed.
“We want all of you from the Northeast to leave Sikandarpur,” Newme said of his attackers.
The DLF Phase-1 police have registered a case against 15 people under sections pertaining to wrongful confinement and attempt to murder. A team comprising chief nodal officer for crime against people from the Northeast region, the ACP of DLF and the station chief of DLF Phase-1 has been formed to look into this crime.
Till late Thursday, the police had detained one person.
“The boys were called outside by a group of attackers, around 15 in number, and were then forced to drink alcohol. They were confined to a room near Sabzi Mandi in Sikanderpur village and were beaten up with cricket bats and hockey sticks,” said Mathew Kamei of the Northeast Support Centre and Helpline.
According to a local man, the victims had been living in Sikanderpur since two years and worked at a BPO. “The boys were confined for over three hours and beaten brutally. Aloto was then rescued by a relative,” the local said.
Bruce K Thangkhal of the support centre, “This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred. This is the second such incident in the area within six months. There are no CCTVs installed in the area even though several people from the Northeast live in Nathupur and Sikandarpur villages.”
Fifth such attack in NCR this year
While police have maintained that the attack on two men from Nagaland on Thursday was neither “racist” nor a “hate crime”, Northeast support groups said police did not want to take the issue seriously. In 2014 alone, the NCR region has seen five attacks on people from the Northeast.
In the early hours of Thursday, Awang Newme, a 25-year-old call-centre employee and his 22-year-old friend Aloto Chester were assaulted with cricket bats and hockey sticks by six men in Sikandarpur, Gurgaon.
Linda Newmai, co-convenor of the BJP North East Cell, said the attack was “racial” and an anti-racial law was needed urgently.
“It was a planned and targeted racial attack. The boys were traumatised and their hair chopped off. They were told that all people from the Northeast should leave Sikandarpur. An anti-racial law should be there because the SC/ST Atrocities Act does not cover all incidents related to the Northeast people,” she said.
In Gurgaon, unlike in Delhi, there is no Northeast representative on the police force. Joint Commissioner of Police Robin Hibu, who is also the nodal officer for people from the Northeast in Delhi, said various sensitisation programmes have helped bring down the rate of crime against Northeast people in Delhi.
Delhi Police sources said they have been in touch with their counterparts in Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad to adopt the Delhi model in order to stop such attacks.
In January, 19-year-old Nido Taniam, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, was beaten to death, allegedly by shopkeepers, in South Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar market following a minor altercation.
In February, two Manipuri women were assaulted allegedly by a group of men in South Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur area.
In May, a girl from Nagaland was molested by a lawyer at a Metro station. When she went to court in connection with the case, a gang of lawyers allegedly assaulted them.
In July, a couple from Northeast were allegedly attacked by four men in Gurgaon. (With ENS inputs)