The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday asked state governments to sensitise all law enforcement agencies to take action against any kind of verbal and physical harassment of people from the North East amid the coronavirus outbreak in India, ANI reported.
Taking cognisance of the growing instances of harassment, the ministry in a statement said: “There have been cases where people from North East including athletes and sportspersons have been harassed by linking them to Covid-19. This is racially discriminatory, inconvenient and painful to them.”
There have been reports about Asians around the world having to contend with racial attacks, with people blaming them for the Covid-19 outbreak that originated in China last year. In India, people from the north eastern states are also facing coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia.
On Sunday, a 25-year-old woman from Manipur was allegedly spat on in North-West Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar area, The Indian Express reported. The woman has alleged that a man first “misbehaved” with her. When she objected, he spat on her and yelled “corona” before fleeing in a two-wheeler.
A first information report was registered on the basis of the woman’s complaint under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code at the Mukherjee Nagar police station, an unidentified police official told the newspaper. Police are scanning all the CCTV camera footage of the area to ascertain the identity of the accused with the help of his white two-wheeler, he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said strict action will be taken against the culprit. “We need to be united as a nation, especially in our fight against Covid-19,” he tweeted.
Last week, a woman in Ahmedabad along with eight of her colleagues, all from Nagaland, had to spend the night in a government quarantine facility meant for suspected patients of the coronavirus disease, without having any physical symptoms for the disease. None of them had any foreign travel history and did not have any apparent contact with any laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 patient either.
Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed seven people so far. The Ministry of Health updated its figure to 433 cases in India on Monday evening, with seven deaths.
Covid-19 has infected 3,49,211 people, and killed 15,308 people, according to an estimate by Johns Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources.