Racism seems to have become a topic tearing the world apart and sadly it’s something that continues to exist in India as well.
A Manipuri woman alleged that she was subjected to racial harassment at the international airport in New Delhi following which an inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
Monika Khangembam alleged that on Saturday an immigration official at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport hurled racist remarks at her when she was on her way to Seoul for a conference.
On her Facebook wall, Khangembam wrote that when she went to the immigration desk at IGI around 9 pm on Saturday, an official looked at her passport and said, “Indian toh nahi lagti ho (you don’t look Indian).”
He then allegedly smirked at her and asked her how many states comprised the country, in an apparent bid to “know her Indianness”.
She alleged that a lady official at the adjacent counter was giggling while the male officer paid no heed to her.
When Khangembam told him she hailed from Manipur, the officer allegedly asked her to name the states Manipur shares 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.)”
Monika wrote she felt ‘humiliated’ by the immigration officer’s behaviour.
The Facebook post, which has garnered lot of attention, also came to the notice of Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. Swaraj tweeted that while the Immigration Department doesn’t come under her ministry, she would take up the matter with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
On Sunday night, Swaraj tweeted: “Monika Khangembam -- I am sorry to know this. Immigration is not with me. I will speak to my senior colleague Shri @rajnathsingh ji to sensitise Immigration officials at the airport.”
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Monday that an inquiry has been instituted into the allegation of racial harassment and action will be taken if anyone is found guilty.
“We are examining the case. We have asked for a full report. There have been previous cases of harassment. We will take action if there was harassment,” he said.
-- With inputs from Agencies