ibnlive » India

Oct 22, 2007 at 12:30pm IST

Racially discriminated, people from NE start helpline

New Delhi: Be it a Radio Jockey ridiculing Prashant Tamang's triumph as 'Chowkidar se Indian Idol' or the recent incident where girls from the Northeast were molested in Delhi University campus, people from the Northeast have for long been facing discrimination.

Constant attacks on identity and lifestyle, sexual and racial harassment and apathy in times of need are just some of their problems.

However, help has finally come their way. Social activists, lawyers and student organisations from across the Capital have come together and launched the North East Support Centre and Helpline.

Through the helpline, a victim can contact volunteers at the Helpline Centre through SMS or a phone call.

Although a permanent helpline number has not yet been registered, four temporary numbers are now functional — 9868184939, 9818314146, 9868157066 and 981055490.

The helpline may have come as a step forward in helping victims, but Madhu Chandra, a core member of the centre says a permanent solution lies in changing the mindset of people.

"We want to sensitise the Government that our people are Indian and we are a peace loving people. So, we should not be treated differently just because we look different," says she.

Another activist spearheading the initiative, Dr John Dayal of the National Integration Council, explains why cultural intolerance is rampant.

"People have called people from the North East 'chinkies'. They have called tribals all sorts of names. When confronted with the unusual, they are semi-apprehensive. They also find it difficult to relate to people from the North East and sometimes this brings out cruel behaviour in them," says he.

However, the support group hopes to change this all and hopes that this initiative goes some way in healing wounds.