Over the centuries, a countless number of people have been killed over the shade of their skin, but who would have thought that an individual’s hair color would ultimately lead to his death.
In India’s capital of New Delhi, over a thousand youths are demanding a speedy investigation into the death of 18-year-old Nino Tania, who was beaten to death by a group of around people after an altercation with a shopkeeper in the same city.
The victim originates from northeastern India. People from the region look markedly different to those in the rest of the country and are, therefore, less accepted in the fold of mainstream India. Only the menace of racism can inspire a group of people to strike a young boy to death and that is what happened on that fateful day.
Due to their distinct looks, culture and traditions, apart from the fact that they are usually associated with the poorer classes of India, people from the northeastern part of the country are at the receiving end of perpetual hate crime.
It started with Tania, the son of Arunachal Pradesh Congress legislator Nido Pavitra, stopping at a marketplace in the Lajpar area of the city to ask for directions. That is when one of the shopkeepers poked fun at the color of his hair.
JT Nagan, the president of the Arunachal Students' Union in the capital, said that the annoyed teen broke a glass item in the shop, for which he later paid 7,000 Indian rupees. However, the feud did not end there.
The defenseless 18-year-old was beaten to death with iron rods and sticks by a crowd of around seven people. Another youth, claiming to be his cousin, said that there were injury marks on his neck and the victim’s lips were torn.
The charged protesters, mostly from the northeastern states, shouted slogans such as “do not judge me by my hair, my looks or my eyes, I am an Indian”. Clearly, they felt that Tania’s looks led to his death and who can blame them.
Indians may be the victims of racism across the globe, but the brutal killing of the teenager from the northeast shows that the phenomenon is rampant in their own country. Even people in New Delhi, which is considered one of the more cosmopolitan cities, fail to accept their countrymen from the northeast.