The dreaded outbreak of COVID-19 across the world has led to confusion, forced the economy nearly ground to a halt, and strained the healthcare sector. But besides triggering fear among people, the outbreak has seen an upswing in a spate of discriminatory attacks, highlighting the long-standing racism against people from the Northeastern part of the country.
In a latest report by The Quint, Indian boxing legend and six-time world champion MC Mary Kom has condemned the racial outburst hurled at Northeast Indians, calling it ‘irrational‘ and ‘unfortunate‘.
“This virus does not know colour, caste, region or religion nor country. This is not a time for blame games or a time to insult each other but to come together and fight against this dreadful virus by abiding by the safety instructions given by our government,” she was quoted as saying.
#EXCLUSIVE | MC Mary Kom condemns racism against Northeast Indians amid the #coronavirus crisis. Read here: https://bit.ly/3e1c67t
Posted by The Quint on Saturday, 4 April 2020
Racial prejudice has always been a familiar trauma for those from the northeast. This has often taken the shape of slurs, physical abuse, and social stigmatisation. However, it is a wonder that the depth of discrimination has continued to thrive even in the most difficult times.
“I am sorry to hear about the unfortunate incidents and treatment you have come across during this hardest time of our generation. Please take courage because the people who treated you differently, they don’t know their own people. There are millions of people who are by your side. You have instead taught them the best lesson they needed. I believe this incident will bring forward a good change in the attitude of such people and pave the way for the next level of national integration,” she added.
Earlier this week, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri also raged against racist attacks on Northeast Indians, calling it ‘shameful‘.
Recently, a Manipuri woman in her 20s was allegedly attacked and spat on by a man on a two-wheeler, while she was on her way to the grocery store. The man called her ‘corona’ before speeding away. This follows a series of other incidents, in Kolkata, Pune, and other parts of the country, where those from the northeast have been labelled as ‘corona’ or ‘coronavirus’.
Mary Kom released a sum of Rs 1 lakh from her MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The Manipuri, who is also a Commonwealth and Asian Games champion, became a Rajya Sabha MP in 2016. She recently qualified for her second Olympic Games, which was postponed to 2021 due to the deadly outbreak.