Ethnic relations in India

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Ethnic relations in India have historically been complex. ("Ethnic relations" refers to attitudes and behaviours toward people of other ethnicities or races.) India is ethnically diverse, with more than 2,000 different ethnic groups.[1] There is also significant diversity within regions, and almost every province has its own distinct mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and culture. Throughout the history of India, ethnic relations have been both constructive (as with mutual cultural influences) and destructive (as with discrimination against other ethnicities).

Constructive relations[edit]

Usually, people in different regions respect each other's cultures and traditions. According to local sources, unity in diversity has been growing in India, making the country more tolerant.[2]


Against North-East Indians[edit]

In recent years there have been many reports of discrimination against people from North-East India. In 2007, the North East Support Centre & Helpline (NESC&H) was started as a separate wing of All India Christian Council, its stated goal is to increase awareness regarding prejudice and attacks against people from North-East India.[3] Many North-Eastern Indians face discrimination; are refused living accommodations when they travel to urban areas to study;[4] and are subjected to racial slurs[5] in reference to the appearance of their eyes. A spokesman for the NESC&H has stated that abuse and harassment of North-Easterners is increasing.[6]

In 2012, in an attempt to prevent such discrimination, the Indian government asked all of its states and union territories to arrest anyone who commits an act of atrocity against a North-Easterner under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A person found guilty under this law can be jailed for 5 years.

In 2014, a North-Eastern student named Nido Taniam was killed in New Delhi.

in October 2014, there were two separate incidents, one in which a North-East student was beaten by three men in Bangalore for not speaking Kannada,[7][8] and a second where a North-East student was beaten by seven men in Gurgaon, Haryana.[9]

Attacks on non-natives in Assam and other North Eastern States[edit]

In Assam India, there have been many attacks on those from outside the region. In 2007, thousands of Hindi-speaking labourers fled from Assam after a series of massacres and bomb attacks. In May 2007, nine of them were killed and another 20 injured in violent attacks;[10] the next month, 26 people from other parts of India were killed in a series of attacks over a period of six days. The police blamed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the Karbi Longri National Liberation Front for the violence.[11] In response, the members of Purvottar Hindustani Sammelan (PHS) staged a hunger strike in Dispur to protest against the "merciless killings of innocent and defenceless Hindi-speaking people."[12] Overall, 98 non-locals were killed in Assam during 2007.[13]

In March and April 2008, a banned Meitei outfit killed 16 non-locals in Manipur.[14] PHS alleged that anti-social groups in Assam were carrying out a continuous hate campaign against the Hindi speakers in the region.[15]

In May 2009, nine Hindi speakers were killed in Assam and Manipur, after the attackers set around 70 houses on fire.[16]

During 8–10 November 2010, 21 Hindi, Bengali, and Nepali speakers were killed by a faction of the NDFB in Assam.[17]

In Meghalaya, the non-indigenous people (who are collectively called Dkhars) are often targets of militant groups.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ US Department of State (17 April 2012). "Background Note: India".
  2. ^ "Unity in diversity is basis for India". The Hindu. Dindigul, India. 9 January 2010.
  3. ^ "About NE Support Centre & Helpline". North East Support Centre & Helpline. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Delhi won't lend a home to students from northeast". Hindustan Times. New Delhi, India. 9 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Students from North East tired of discrimination". NDTV. New Delhi, India. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Northeast students question 'racism' in India". India edunews. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  7. ^ Maya Sharma (15 October 2014). "Northeast Student Attacked in Bangalore, Allegedly For Not Speaking Kannada". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Manipuri student attacked in Bangalore, 3 arrested". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  9. ^ "After Bangalore, it's Gurgaon: N-E students brutally assaulted". Yahoo News India. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  10. ^ Subir Bhaumik (23 May 2007). "Persecution of Assam's Hindi speakers". BBC
  11. ^ Wasbir Hussain (12 August 2007). "30 Killed in Northeast Violence in India". Washington Post.
  12. ^ Hindustani Sammelan stages fast-unto-death". Hindustan Times. 17 August 2007.
  13. ^ "Militant Attacks on Non-Locals in Assam". SATP. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Manipur rebels kill Hindi speakers". UPI. 18 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Allegation of harrassment [sic] of Hindi-speaking people". DNA. 16 June 2008.
  16. ^ "Nine Hindi-speaking people among 12 killed in Northeast". Hindustan Times. 12 May 2009.
  17. ^ "Nine attacks since Monday, toll now 22". Indian Express. 10 November 2010.
  18. ^ T. Haokip, "Inter-Ethnic Relations in Meghalaya", Asian Ethnicity, 15:3, 302-316, DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2013.853545