Racism in India

In its 21st October 2007 issue, The Pioneer, one of the leading English dailies in India invited Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights, Mr Suhas Chakma to write in the Sunday's DIALOGUE column on racism in India in the wake of racist taunts - Indian cricket fans mimicking the actions of a monkey - directed at Andrew Symonds, an Australian cricketer of coloured origin.

Racism runs deeper in India. Even in the civil society circles, Mr Suhas Chakma came across many cases of racial discrimination. As long as the Dalit and tribal activists remain target groups for a "project" or "employees of a project", there is little problem. They must not venture into human rights activism - the monopoly of the activists from mainstream Indians. It is as if an activist belonging to the Scheduled Tribes to which Mr Chakma belongs or Dalits cannot defend others and/or they must be writing only on “purloin” materials. The Dalit or tribal activists must ghettoised and only work on their communities.

Recently, Mr Suhas Chakma had to face inquiries from the Delhi Police, Special Branch of the Delhi Police and other officials after one of his former colleagues from a human rights organisation accused him, among others, of being a member of an insurgent group. At midnight, the Delhi police entered the house to catch the insurgent (Mr Suhas Chakma) who posed threat to the society. The complaint was lodged by those activists who condemn the Americans for thinking that all Muslims are suspects. In India, there are home-grown varieties of the suspect: people from the North-East or those having the surnames like Chakma. Obviously surnames such as Punwani, Mukherjee or Nayar cannot be linked with terrorism – a Chakma can be!

Read more ....
Racism in India, albeit differently, The Pioneer, New Delhi, 21 October 2007 [pdf / html]

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