In Delhi’s rough and tumble, help for northeastern studentsJune 7th, 2009 - 9:10 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Delhi University is a preferred destination for youngsters from the northeast for higher studies. But many find themselves singled out for their looks, attire and diction. For them, there is help at hand.
Student clubs, volunteers and colleges in the varsity are stepping in to ease their troubles.
“Students face problems of accommodation and discrimination. The first step - and most significant now - is to help them fill up forms and ease the admission process,” Rover, a member of the Naga Students Union, told IANS.
Many such student clubs, set up by students from the northeast who are already enrolled in Delhi University and those who have set up base here, are extending help to fresh entrants in whatever way they can .
The Manipur Students Union and the Arunachal Pradesh Students Union have also emerged as support groups for students from their respective states, helping youngsters fill up admission forms and get reliable paying guest accommodation.
“Discrimination is an issue. People think we are from some different world! A lot of people need to get their history and geography right. They think we are from oriental countries like China and Japan - but we belong to the same country,” said Thomas, a member of the Kuki Students Union.
The North East Support Centre helpline (9818314146/9868184939) has also been receiving a lot of complaints from female students facing eve-teasing, molestation, harassment by landlords and in some cases even sexual abuse and rape.
The helpline has been functioning since October 2007 and actively helping out students in case of discrimination. There are 49,000 seats in Delhi University.
“When students call our helpline, in some cases we help them get in touch with the police and provide them legal assistance,” said Lansinglu Rongmei, an active member of North East Support Centre and lawyer.
The Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) as well as the varsity’s administrative office is trying to link new students and university aspirants to senior students and teachers from the northeast.
Gurpreet Singh Tuteja, deputy dean, students welfare, told IANS: “We have set up help desks where teacher counsellors who hail from the northeastern states help out students. Our student counsellors also pitch in.”
DUSU member Tejeswar Parida said, “DUSU introduces them to our members who are from the northeast so that there is no hesitation. We also keep in touch with individual organisations from these regions.”
Individual colleges are also pitching in.
Sri Venkateswara College, a college in the south campus, has taken steps to make students feel at home.
“The college plans to help students from the northeast take up houses on rent. Students will also be asked to submit a report on their stay in their rented houses so that we will know if they face any kind of harassment from landlords,” said Nirmal Kumar, the college’s admissions convener.
“In some cases, if required, a person from the administration would be appointed for the student concerned to help him or her interactwith police,” Kumar added.
Thumlity Monsang, who hails from Manipur and is a student of journalism at Kalindi College, said: “When there are attacks on Indian students in Australia, the whole country protests, but racial discrimination against us takes place within the boundaries of our country.
“We constantly have to prove that we are Indians. Why?”