KOLKATA: The worldwide pandemic of coronavirus infection has suddenly turned a curse to some of the people from hills of north Bengal for their facial similarity with the people from China.
In a bizarre incident on Wednesday, a student from Kalimpong studying at a college in Kolkata was bullied on a street in Kolkata.
The 21-year-old student had come to Kolkata eight months ago. The youth, who did not want to be identified, has been attending classes in Kolkata apart from doing internship with a company.
On Wednesday afternoon, he came out from his Anandapur residence and started walking towards the VIP Bazaar area. As he crossed the Tagore Park area, the youth saw few men on their bikes pointing fingers at him.
“I was wearing a mask and thought they were trying to point out that. As I reached closer, I heard them shouting ‘coronavirus’. They were four to five in number and I figured out any protest would aggravate them. They could easily overpower me,” the youth recounted on Thursday.
While he moved away from the spot, he got scared and panicked. On Thursday, he kept himself locked inside the room.
“How can I be bullied for my features which might be similar to Chinese people?” he lamented. The youth has not registered any complaint with the police however.
Thursday’s incident was a re-run of a similar incident with another student from the hills. Just a week back on March 12, another student faced similar bullying in south Kolkata when a transgender person asked her friend to stay away from the youth. The person allegedly pointed finger at him and shouted “coronavirus esechhe (coronavirus has come)”. The youth was taken aback and returned home.
“Generally I go on snapping at racist people when I get called on the streets, but this time I was scared. I felt humiliated,” he posted on his Facebook page.
The issue of bullying of people from the hills amid the coronavirus outbreak was raised on Thursday in Lok Sabha by Darjeeling MP Raju Bista.
“People from northeastern states and Darjeeling, who have smaller eyes and small nose, are being bullied in cities like Kolkata, Pune and Delhi. I would urge the authorities to take strong steps against such people,” Bista said inside the parliament.