Campaigners in India are pushing to introduce anti-racism legislation after the recent killing in Delhi of a college student from north-east India, the latest in a series of apparent hate crimes. India has existing laws that deal with discrimination but none on the basis of race. The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder reports on why India is being forced to come to terms with the issue.
In a modest flat in Delhi, Nido Pavithra and his wife Marina light a candle in front of a large framed photograph of a young man wearing glasses. Flowers are placed underneath.
It is a picture of their son, Nido Tania, who was killed two weeks ago in an apparently racially-motivated attack.
The police say he got into an argument with a group of shopkeepers who made fun of his appearance and beat him so badly that he died.
He was only 19.
“I still can’t believe he’s gone,” says Marina Nido, who spoke to her son the night before he died.
“He told me not to worry and that I was the best mother in the whole world. Those were his last words.”
They call us all sorts of names. We are called bamboos, chimpanzees. They spit on us. When we go down to play football, they throw stones at us”
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“It was racism pure and simple. He was killed because of the way he looks,” adds the young victim’s father.
It is the latest in a series of attacks targeting people from north-east India, whose physical resemblance is often closer to that of the Chinese or East Asians than to people in the rest of India.
The attack on Nido Tania has sparked outrage and brought protesters out on to the streets of Delhi.
The demonstrators say they will not stop until his killers are brought to justice and the government brings in an anti-racism law.
But those from the north-east of India are not the only community that has suffered racial abuse on the streets of the Indian capital.
Khirki Extension is a congested neighbourhood in south Delhi, characterised by narrow lanes and houses built so closely together that you can barely see the sun from the street.
Electricity wires hang haphazardly overhead and many of the houses look dilapidated.
But for some time now this area has been home to Delhi’s African community. Some call it Little Africa.
“They moved in here a few years ago, attracted by the fact that they could get cheap housing,” one long-term resident, Ashok Yadav, says.
But not everyone welcomed them.
“They would get into fights, there was drug dealing going on,” alleges Mr Yadav.
“Many of the women would solicit customers for the sex trade right on the street,” he adds.
Racial stereotyping?[Read more-BBC]