Union minister Kiren Rijiju condemned the attack on a student from Arunachal Pradesh in Bengaluru on Monday, four days after the matter came to light. Higio Guntey – a fourth semester student of Christ University – alleged that he was beaten up by his landlord who also forced him to lick his shoes for using excessive water.

Rijiju said the Home Ministry would pursue the matter. “When we are talking of safety of Indians abroad such incidents in our country are very saddening,” he told ANI.

The incident, which took place on March 6, came to light on March 9 after Guntey filed a police complaint against the landlord. In his complaint, the 22-year-old student said his landlord, Hemanth Kumar, was in an inebriated state when he barged into his flat and started beating him “without any reason”. Gungtey added that Kumar also made him lick his shoes. “He threatened to take me to police. He hit me continuously, I was bleeding,” he told the police, according to NDTV.

Guntey has alleged that the police were lackadaisical about the case and did not take appropriate action against the accused. Landlord Kumar has been charged for assault and criminal intimidation. He, however, is out on anticipatory bail.

A section of the Northeastern community in Bengaluru dubbed it as a racist attack. The polcie said the accused would face additional charges if such an angle was proved. “If at any point a complaint is registered or we find a racial angle to the incident, a separate case can be registered,” an unidentified police officer told Times Now.

Although the Indian Penal Code currently does not have any dedicated section for racial attacks, cases can be registered under Section 295(A) and Section 153(A) to address such assaults. The President of the Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Association told NewsX that the landlord had also assaulted other students from the North-East region in the past.