A plea to the Government to start a law to protect the victims of XENOPHOBIA.
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Xenophobia is a deep-rooted fear of the unfamiliar and “the other” who do not belong to our community, religion or region. North-easterns, African, burkha clad Muslim women are among the many who are victims of xenophobia. We stereotype each other mercilessly and there are jokes galore about food, clothes and accents. Often, we are unaware of the fact that we are xenophobes. Calling a Manipuri ‘chinky’ is not acceptable. Many poor, migrant Biharis are beaten up, attacked and threatened as they went about their daily grind, often working for a pittance. Making fun of someone on the basis of colour and features should not be tolerated.
Racism, prejudice and xenophobia are rampant in India. It’s a strange mixture of prejudice, ignorance and centuries-old discriminatory practices, when communities kept to themselves and there were dining taboos based on caste. You couldn’t eat with people not of your caste or marry into their communities.
In the World Values Survey conducted by Swedish economists, reported by the Washington Post, India is the least racially tolerant country. The question that was asked was how welcome will a person of a different race will be in the neighbourhood. A staggering 43.5% of Indian said they would not appreciate a member of a different race living among them.
Xenophobes and silent spectators are both to be blamed. The biggest democracy in the world is bereft of an effective policy that can protect the victims of racial discrimination and prejudice. Protection against racism is guaranteed in the Indian Constitution merely under: Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides for equality before the law & equal protection within the territory of India and prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, or any of them. Article 15 (1) and (2) prohibit the state from discriminating any citizen on ground of any religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
However there is nothing specific in the Indian Penal Code.
Sign the petition today to change mind sets, opinions and biases. Let us bring to the notice of our law makers about the need to formulate policies in favour of the victims and against xenophobia. This is the need of the hour. Let us stop the hate crimes against our brothers and sisters who speak a different dialect, who wear different clothes and who have a different skin tone. Let us say NO to xenophobia.
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