In wake of the global coronavirus pandemic which had already caused over 8,000 deaths, many from Asian countries have faced a spike in cases of racism. And with over 140 coronavirus cases in India, people from the northeastern states of the country have also been facing hate. Many northeastern students living outside of their home States have reported being called "corona" or "coronavirus" after the virus broke out in Wuhan, China.
In light of growing incidents, Rijiju who is the minister for minority affairs, took to Twitter to call out the racism.
"Some incidents of racial remarks against North-East people have emerged in some parts of India in the wake of #Coronavirus due to cultural ignorance, prejudice mindset & lack of understanding," Rijiju wrote. He added that the matter had also been discussed in the Ministry of Home Affairs' North East Division and that a "strict advisory" had been issued to all States.
Some incidents of racial remarks against North-East people have emerged in some parts of India in the wake of #Coronavirus due to cultural ignorance, prejudice minset & lack of understanding. Matter discussed with NE Division, MHA. Strict advisory is being issued to the States.— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 18, 2020
The announcement comes after reports of two college students from Darjeeling studying in Kolkata's Presidency College in West Bengal being racially abused and called "coronavirus".
Incidents of racism have been frequently surfacing on Indian social media ever since the virus first spread from China. Earlier in the month, northeastern students studying in Delhi University were also attacked and called racial slurs due to their mongoloid features.
Yet another incident that recently went viral was a Mizo woman living in Pune was verbally abused by a woman and fellow shopper at a grocery store.