BJP wants to protect Northeast "immigrants". What are we, idiots?

We're not asking for special-this consideration or special-that consideration. All we're asking for is respect and equal treatment.

 |  2-minute read |   04-02-2015
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When I read that the BJP in its Vision document want Northeast "immigrants" to be protected, my first reaction was to laugh. Yes, it's not funny, but who the hell really cares? The BJP? Of course not. They forgot about it even before they had issued an apology. This was just one more reason for the saffron party's rivals to make news out of. And after the usual noise-making, they too moved on to other matters.

But what about the people concerned, the "immigrants" that are being offered this protection? What does that make us? NRIs or non-resident immigrants? What about the precious blue booklet that allows me to leave and come back to the country? Will that be revoked? Well, of course not. Like I said, that "small" error is already forgotten.

For hours I watched a gamut of emotions on social network. Like me, most people simply laughed it off. Some lashed out in anger, while some exclaimed, "now I'm an immigrant?" in disbelief. One commented: "What is wrong with that? Sab sochte hain, inhone keh dala." Yet others sighed in resignation: It's just another blow by mainstream Indians, they said.

The BJP was quick to apologise. And who better than their "immigrant" minister, Kiren Rijiju? He called it a clerical error - a typo. It may have been just that. But such careless attitude, considering this is the BJP's Vision document? Or maybe that is the vision they have for the people from Northeast India, and the clerk made a rare political mistake; he told the truth.

I wonder if CM candidate Kiran Bedi has bothered to glance through the 24-page document at all. Or perhaps the only thing of interest to her was the cover displaying the Fantastic Four?

The talk of special cells in all police stations and 24-hour helpline numbers irritate me. Are there special cells for people from Bihar? Or Uttarakhand? To top it all, the document also says "special guardianship will be arranged with local families" for students from the Northeast. Why? Do we look like idiots who are incapable of taking care of ourselves? We're not asking for special-this consideration or special-that consideration. All we're asking for is respect and equal treatment. That's not too hard to comprehend, is it?

A party spokesperson said the "brothers and sisters of the Northeast are the pride of Delhi". Perfect, of course, for a political apology. And like any other political controversy, this will also fade away. In fact, this will be over and done with even sooner, because of its insignificance; our vote bank in Delhi is negligible. Or maybe not, considering minorities are a hot topic at the moment. Me? After 22 years in Delhi, I'm wiser now. I'm more excited about Harper Lee's next novel.

Writer

Monalisa S Arthur Monalisa S Arthur @monalisaarthur

Monalisa S Arthur is a former journalist. She is from Manipur and until now, blithely assumed she was an Indian, till the BJP taught her better.

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