On the last day of the three-day National Youth Festival 2018 at Gautam Buddha University, participants from some Northeastern states boycotted the closing ceremony, alleging discrimination by organisers and other participants.
Some of the allegations levelled by the students include questions on whether they understood Hindi or English, being asked to sign filled-in feedback forms, and comments about their eating habits.
“Volunteers of several events made comments such as ‘pagal ho, pagal hi rahoge’, ‘chinki’, etc. The kind of discrimination faced by Northeastern people is seen nowhere in the world,” a student from Manipur said on condition of anonymity.
The organisers, on the other hand, acknowledged that complaints had reached the authorities but no action had been taken so far.
“The festival has been conducted in an excellent manner and 100% feedback has been received…,” Major Dilawar Singh, DG of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, said.
A student from Assam also alleged they were asked if they ate “dogs and snakes”. He said the alleged discrimination spilled onto the sports ground. “The volleyball winner and runners-up, who belong to Manipur and Assam, faced discrimination.
The Manipuris were given runners-up medals despite being the winners, while the Assamese were denied their prize.”
“Feedback forms were to be filled in by each participant… but the organisers filled them for the Nagaland team and asked them to just sign. They also mocked cultural earring of Nagaland by comparing it with a jhaadu (broom). We had come with the hope of presenting ourselves as part of the ‘new India’,” the student alleged.