New Delhi: Students from the Northeast held protests in south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar on Saturday, over the death of a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.
Nido Taniam, the son of an Arunachal Pradesh Congress MLA, succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, a day after being beaten up by two shopkeepers at Lajpat Nagar-1 market.
Scores of protesters held placards, raised slogans against discrimination and demanded justice.
“It is a shocking incident and it is not the first time. It is not just about people from northeast, people from outside always face discrimination here,” said a protester.
“We want Delhi chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) to deliver justice to us,” said another protester.
Also today, a delegation of people from the Northeast community met BJP leader Dr Harshvardhan, who said that he would write a letter to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister asking for better security for students from the Northeast.
Parliamentarians from the Northeast were also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later today, to protest against the student’s death.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police have sought to clear themselves of blame in the case, saying they did not drop the youth back at the site of altercation after picking him up.
Police officials said they had in fact handed over the boy to her sister.
It was earlier claimed that after ensuring a compromise between the shopkeepers and Taniam, the police had dropped the youth back at the shop where the initial altercation had taken place.
The brutal attack on Taniam had taken place at the crowded Lajpat Nagar-I market on Wednesday afternoon, leading to internal and other injuries. The death has been dubbed a “racial attack” by activists.
Police have registered a case of murder and held the two accused – Farhan and Akram – who are in their 20s and run the Rajasthan Paneer Shop.
It all began when Taniam, a student of Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, and a friend approached the shop seeking directions.
Farhan and Akram reportedly made fun of Taniam’s hairstyle and clothes. The youngster had coloured his hair blonde and wore red trousers.
The Arunachal teens protested against the comments, leading to heated arguments with Farhan and Akram.
Police said the furious Taniam, son of Arunachal Pradesh legislator Nido Pavitra, entered the shop and hit a glass-topped table, shattering it.
Alerted by a shopkeeper, police took Taniam and his friend as well as Farhan and Akram to police station where Taniam paid Rs 10,000 for breaking the table.
According to Taniam’s relatives, police then dropped Taniam near the shop where another argument broke out.
This time, the accused thrashed Taniam, his cousin told the media.
Deputy Commissioner of Police P Karunakaran said: “A compromise was struck between the youths and the shopkeepers at the police station” and all of them were then allowed to leave.
A relative said Taniam had injuries on his neck and his lip was torn.
His friends took him to the All India Institute of Medical Science where he died on Thursday evening. The incident came to light on Friday.
Taniam had come to Delhi to meet his elder sister who studies in Delhi University.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) blamed Delhi Police for the death.
“The way police picked him up and then dropped him at the same spot needs to be looked into,” AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said.
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