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Hundreds participate in protest rally demanding justice for Higio Gungtey

TAP | Updated: March 16, 2017



ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Hundreds hit the street early morning on Thursday demanding justice for one Higio Gungtey, a student of Arunachal studying in Christ University, Bengaluru, Karnataka who was allegedly assaulted by his landlord in Bangalore on March 6 over “misuse” of water..

The protest rally which started from Aakashdeep at Ganga culminated at Tennis Court, I G Park here.

20-year old Gungtey who suffered injuries all over his body after he was beaten black and blue by the accused Kumar, who happens to be a practicing lawyer, was also allegedly asked to lick the latter’s shoes. Gungtey had also claimed that Kumar had used filthy language against his mother.

Though the incident had drawn flaks from all quarters and accordingly several charges were filed against Kumar, it is reported that he has managed to get an anticipatory bail.

Demanding the accused to be booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 under section 153 IPC, his license to practice law cancelled by Bar Council of India and the accused also be punished under Women Domestic Violence Act 2005 for using derogatory words against women, protestors, which included people from all walks of life sought arrest of Kumar at earliest.

“It is very unfortunate that time and again our students and youths are becoming the victims of racial discrimination. We send our wards to other states in the country hoping that they get some exposure and learn the true sense of Indianisim, however, the same has not been the case,” said Arunachal Pradesh State Commission on Women (APSCW) chairperson Jarjum Ete.

She further expressed hope that MoS from Home Kiren Rijiju would look into case on top priority.

Rijiju on Monday last said that his department, Ministry of Home Affairs, will look into the attack.

“My office is pursuing this case. When we are talking of the safety of Indians abroad such incidents in our own country are very saddening,” the minister had tweeted.

Meanwhile, taking serious note of the incident, Arunachal Pradesh Governor P B Acharaya today said that such irresponsible and uncivilized behavior of a few needs to be condemned by one and all.

 “It is against the very spirit of National Character,” said the governor who through a telephonic conversation with his counterpart Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala (Governor of Karnataka) requested the latter to give special attention towards these problems and challenges being faced by the students of North East, particularly Arunachal Pradesh.

Acharya also spoke to Karnataka chief secretary Subhash Chnadra Khuntia and directed him to take immediate and strong action against the culprit.

“A criminal case under the provision of SC/ST Act may also be initiated against the culprit, directed the governor.

Acharya later also met the relatives of Higio Gungtey at Raj Bhavan and assured them that he would take all steps to punish the culprit.

The delegation on the occasion also submitted a memorandum to the governor.

Also taking strong exception of the incident chief minister Pema Khandu today personally shot a letter to his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah requesting his personal intervention in punishing the culprit and set an example to thwart similar incidents in the future.

Khandu specifically noted in his letter that though several charges were filed against the culprit – one Hemanth Kumar, a lawyer by profession – he has managed to obtain anticipatory bail.

The chief minister drew attention of Siddaramaiah towards the fact that every year, thousands of students from Arunachal Pradesh go to Karnataka, particularly Bengaluru for higher and technical education. While pointing that these students face racial discrimination in one or other form, he asserted that such discrimination ought to be negated in every possible way and dissuaded forth with.

Khandu made it clear that culprits engaged in such kind of activities should be dealt with iron hands so that recurrence of such incidents are nipped at the bud and a sense of security is instilled amongst the student community pursuing studies in your state.

“I would therefore seek your personal intervention in the present case to ensure that the culprit is punished according to the law of the land and justice is delivered to the victim and his family members. I also would like to seek your kind assurance in ensuring safety and security of our students studying in various colleges and educational institutions in your state,” the chief minister added in the letter to Siddaramaiah.

The Nyishi Elite Society (NES) has also strongly condemned the inhuman brutal racial attack on Higio Gungtey and sought stringent action against the culprit.

The beastly act of Hemant Kumar is not pardonable. He needs to be taken to task so that he exhibits human behaviour in the rest of his life. Indian judicial system shall be doomed if such a heinous criminal is continued to be on legal profession. Kumar needs to be immediately thrown out of the legal profession, said NES president Bengia Tolum in a statement.

The repeated physical assault on people from North East especially, Arunachalees in mainland may incite a feeling of alienation and give rise to a trust deficit to the peace loving patriotic people of Arunachal Pradesh which is not in the interest of a healthy nation with varied demography, if proper measures and steps are not taken by the union and respective state governments, he added.

The NES has further appeal to the people of Karnataka to impress upon the law enforcing authorities to book the culprit immediately so a peaceful co-existence without any discrimination is maintained.

This is not the first time that a student from North East or particularly Arunachal Pradesh has become the victim of alleged attack. On January 29, 2014, one Nido Tania, a 20-year-old student from Arunachal was murdered in the Lajpat Nagar area of Delhi, triggering widespread protests. 

In wake of this incident, 7 advocates from northeast were empanelled by Delhi State Legal Services Authority to provide free legal assistance to people from North-East India staying in national capital.