Every friend of mine from the northeast corner of our country has told me that she has been at the receiving end of racial slurs at some point or another. And every once in a while, when someone reiterates the point on social media, it becomes a big deal. A Manipuri woman posted a Facebook column on Saturday, alleging that an immigration official at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport hurled racist remarks at her when she was at the Airport while flying to Seoul for a global women’s conference.
This is what she wrote on her Facebook wall:
Hailing from Manipur, Monika Khangembam was standing at the immigration desk at IGI around 9pm on Saturday, when she received an unexpected look from an official who took a glance at her passport and said, “Indian toh nahi lagti ho” (you don’t look Indian).
Having judged her wasn’t enough but he then allegedly smirked at her and asked her questions about the country such as how many states are there etc., to seek out her ‘Indianness’. Quiet interesting to learn that, while she was being abused, a female official at the next counter was giggling. The male officer meanwhile continued his rude behaviour, completely ignoring the fact that she was getting late for the flight. When Khangembam explained that she is from Manipur, the official then asked her to name the states Manipur shared its border with.
“I said I was really getting late and he goes like, “aircraft aapko chodke kahi nahi jaa rahi. Aaram se jawab do” (the aircraft isn’t leaving without you. You can answer at ease.).
Sure enough people expressed support on Social media for Khangembam
Another friend shared captioned the photo saying, “It is a trending RT and should get enough attention Monika. I did not intentionally mention your name as trolls are another issue in instances like this. Hopefully there will be some action. Enjoy Seoul meanwhile.”
The issue became viral soon enough, having been shared 880 times, with people online urging external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to step in and take action against the immigration officer. This was Swaraj’s response:
Further, Sushma Swaraj apologized to Monika on Sunday night for the ‘racial’ slur and assured her of an appropriate action
However, Monika again took to Facebook on Sunday, thanking people for showering tremendous support but also pinned people who were calling her a ‘stupid women’ and denied the racist comment.
It’s a shame that Monika Khangembam, who was on her way to Seoul, to represent India at the 10th EWHA Global Empowerment Program (EGEP) organised by the EWHA Woman’s University and the UN Women, became a victim of such racist comments. It’s time we sensitised each other as well as our public service officers in the basics of human dignity.
Feature image Credit: newsdog.today