INDIA

Beating, death of student in India sparks protest, charges of racism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:40am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:40am
AP

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The beating and subsequent death in New Delhi of a university student from India's remote northeast has sparked an outcry against racism and criticism of police in the Indian capital.

Several hundred people, many of them students shouting demands for justice, protested outside a Delhi police station yesterday. The capital's newly elected chief minister also asked that the police response be investigated.

Police arrested two shopkeepers on Friday night after being criticised for doing little after Wednesday's altercation.

Officials said 20-year-old Nido Tania had been on vacation from his studies in Jalandhar, Punjab, when he was beaten by New Delhi shopkeepers who had ridiculed his appearance. Many indigenous people from India's northeast, some ethnically closer to people in Myanmar and China, say they encounter racism and discrimination in the rest of India.

Tania died in his bed on Thursday morning. An autopsy was being conducted to determine the cause of death. He was the son of a member of the Arunachal Pradesh state assembly from the nationally ruling Congress Party. The Home Ministry on Friday asked police for a detailed report.

Hundreds of students held demonstrations in front of a police station and near the shop where Tania was beaten in the south Delhi neighbourhood of Lajpat Nagar. They carried placards with slogans including "Hang the culprits", and "Why are we treated like outsiders?"

A Facebook page titled "Justice for Nido Tania" had received support from more than 14,000 people by yesterday afternoon.

"There is no place for elements trying to spread hatred against people belonging to any particular part of the country," Delhi's chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said in a statement.

Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party, said that the brazenness of the public beating proved that the city's law enforcement was failing its citizens. The party has been lambasting Delhi police, who report to the federal government, since soon after December's election victory.