Strong rebuttal from Kiren Rijiju : Maligning a people
Racial discrimination. Dubbed corona besides chinky, ching-chong China man, momo, bahadur and people of North East India have had to live with these highly derogatory names in different parts of the country and this is a shame. Adding more to this shame is the recent report beamed by a TV channel which showed some men purportedly from Arunachal Pradesh feasting on a King Cobra. This report has been rejected and rubbished outrightly by Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju who even went to the extent of dubbing the said report as fake news. Not something which would shake the Nation or even the efforts taken up to keep the coronavirus at bay, but undoubtedly this report has gone a long way in portraying the people of North East as a bunch of snake eating folks who eat anything that walks and crawls. Not surprisingly this report went viral on the social media and the people of North East did not find the said report amusing at all. To many in the region, the report was something more than killing and feasting on a protected species but went a long way in questioning the eating culture of the people as a whole. In one swift report, the purported news story can be said to have opened yet another avenue for the people of North East to be jibed, insulted and racially profiled in other parts of the country. That this has come at this point of time when the Nation is working overtime to battle the coronavirus is what has made it all that more disturbing. Now that Kiren Rijiju has strongly refuted the report, it would be interesting to see what the said news channel has to say. Will it stick to its story or come out with a clarification coupled with an apology ? So far nothing of this sort has come out, till the time this commentary is being written, not that a clarification would undo the report, for the harm has already been done.
The truth, this is what everyone would want. If the refutation of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju is wrong then by all means the said news channel can carry another story to give credibility to their news. If it is wrong then it should not hesitate in issuing a public apology. This should be the bottomline. And conflicting stands on news, especially those that have the potential to paint a region or the people of a region in a demeaning light at this point of time is certainly not needed. The fight against coronavirus will continue and this is the time for the Nation to stand as one and put up a united fight. This is primarily the reason why the extended lockdown call issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had the backing from different sections of society. The lockdown is still on, signifying that the fight will continue and the virus will be here for months and maybe years to come. The State Government has also relaxed the strictures in 15 sectors and as stated earlier, this is the time for the people to demonstrate that they have it in them to shoulder responsibilities. Apart from the need to rejuvenate economic activities, what should be seen and noted in the decision of the Government to relax the lockdown in certain sectors is the trust and confidence they have reposed in the people and certainly any report which has the potential to paint a region or people of a region in the wrong light needs serious rethinking.