Bengaluru: The Mysore city police has registered a case against the staff of a groceries chain outlet for harassing two students from the northeast on Saturday.
A video of the incident in which two students from northeast can be seen being stopped by the staff outside a More supermarket in Mysore has gone viral.
A Twitter user uploaded the video wherein the students are pleading with the staff to stop discriminating against them and accept them and allow them to enter the supermarket.
One of the students is heard saying, "We are Indians, we need groceries like you. We are human beings like you guys. You don't accept it? We live here, we have Aadhaar Card. How can you discriminate (against) us?" This happens even as another customer enters the shop and a More staff member comes out to stop the other student from northeast from filming the incident.
Students from the North-East who went to a super market were denied entry in Mysuru
This is the effect of using racist de-humanising terms like 'Chinese Virus'
Citizens from NE will face further discrimination. Strict action should be taken to stop this.pic.twitter.com/1KEgnA7dJS— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) March 29, 2020
The two young men from Nagaland are students of engineering at a college in Mysuru. One of them said the staff at the store told them they were not Indians and the incident has affected him psychologically. "I should say I am not okay. I am psychologically affected," he said.
"My friend and I went to buy groceries around 6.10pm on Saturday. We waited in queue for about 25 minutes. We followed social distancing. But when our turn came to go in, we were stopped. The staff told us that we are not Indians and that they don't allow foreigners. We tried to explain to them that we are from the northeast. We even showed them our Aadhaar cards. But they did not allow us to enter," said the student who did not wish to be named.
City Police Commissioner Chandragupta said an FIR has been registered and the manager and staff of the outlet have been taken into custody.
"The FIR has been lodged immediately at Krishnaraja police station. We urge people and shop owners/staff to desist from doing such acts and behave responsibly in this time of crisis," he said.
The student said that members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), contacted them and asked to file a complaint at the police station.
"The chief secretary of Nagaland had tweeted three days ago saying that if we are facing any kind of racial discrimination, we could call at the helpline. I called that number and I believe they contacted the BJP in Karnataka. ABVP members contacted us and asked us to go to the police station. But by the time we reached the police station, we saw the message of Mysore city police commissioner that an FIR has been filed," he said.
Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy had put out a tweet urging any citizen from state to contact him if they face any kind of discrimination or harassment.
Any Naga facing any kind of racial discrimination/harassment in other States may please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org giving details. They can also contact my team by phone at 03702291120 or 03702291122 or 1070 @EastMojo @NagalandExpress @Neiphiu_Rio— Temjen Toy (@temjentoy) March 26, 2020
The students said they are used to harassment and discrimination, but they usually choose to ignore it. "Recently, someone called me coronavirus, but he was in an inebriated condition and I let it go because there was no point talking to him," one of them said.
Though nobody intervened during Saturday's incident, the students said a man later came up to them and asked if he could buy the groceries for them as he would be able to enter the store easily as he was a local.
"But he could have made the staff understand the problem in their behaviour in the first place. He did not do that," one of them said.
"It may not be intentional. I am not the only one facing this. Many from our community face this very often. It is both a lack of awareness and lack of sensitivity. The staff may have just followed orders given by his boss. I can't say there is a specific solution to this. I have been living here for two years. Mysore is a peaceful place and the locals are usually kind," he added.
The Commissioner of Bengaluru City Police, Bhaskar Rao, has also responded to the incident and said any such discriminatory acts against citizens from the northeast would be dealt with strongly.
“Some misguided persons have made unwanted Covid 19 remarks against our brethren from NorthEastern States. These misguided will be dealt with very sternly. Brothers & Sisters from NorthEast, you are secure here, approach nearest Police station or Me directly Live Fearless,” Rao wrote in a tweet.
Some misguided persons have made unwanted Covid 19 remarks against our brethren from NorthEastern States. These misguided will be dealt with very sternly.Brothers & Sisters from NorthEast, you are secure here, approach nearest Policestation or Me directly Live Fearless.— Bhaskar Rao IPS (@deepolice12) March 29, 2020