‘Pakka Indian Ho?’ Manipuri Girl Asked At Airport. Sushma Swaraj Reacts

Monika Khangembam from Manipur complained in a Facebook post of discrimination by Delhi airport officialMonika Khangembam from Manipur complained in a Facebook post of discrimination by Delhi airport official

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Monika Khangembam's Facebook post, details 'race discrimination'
  2. Khangembam asked by immigration officer: 'Are you really Indian?"
  3. Sushma Swaraj says sorry, will raise incident with Rajnath Singh

NEW DELHI:  Monika Khangembam, an activist from Manipur, was allegedly asked by an immigration officer at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport whether she is "really an Indian" and if she can list all the states.

After her Facebook post describing the unpleasant encounter went viral, the government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

"We have asked for a full report. Action will be taken," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju promised on Monday. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also reacted in tweets last night.

In a long post, Ms Khangembam said she had "never felt as humiliated" as she did at the immigration counter before a flight to Seoul on Saturday.

"The bloody racist immigration desk at it again! Looks at my Passport and says, 'Indian toh nahi lagti ho (You don't look Indian)'. I get that all the time so don't react much to it but then he goes on, 'Pakka Indian ho? (Are you really an Indian?')"

The officer didn't stop even when Ms Khangembam said she was running late for her flight and asked him to let her pass.

"What really got me was when he said, 'See… You yourself need to know your Indianess. How many states are there in India?' The lady at the next counter is giggling. I tell him I am really running late. He goes, nahi nahi bolo bolo. I helplessly answer him as he is not proceeding with the process. And then he continues, kaha se ho. I said Manipur and he is like, 'so tell me how many states Manipur shares borders with. Name them'."

When she told the officer she was getting very late, he allegedly told her: "The aircraft won't leave you and go. Take your time."

This is the latest example of discrimination that people from northeastern states say they face routinely.

Ms Khangembam is a known name in the fight in Manipur against a widely-criticized law that gives the army and the police special powers to search or arrest without warrants.

In another post yesterday, she said: "Me and a lot of people from North East have constantly faced subtle racist jibes whether in the form of a sarcastic remark, smile, or attitude. Sometimes you cannot define it but you just feel it so you never express."

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