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Students from Northeast falls prey to discrimination at historic Taj
In yet another incident of bigotry attitude towards the northeasterners, a group of 29 history students were the victims this time. The students, of Guwahati's Handique Girls' College, were on a college excursion to Jaipur, Agra-Mathura, Vrindavan and Delhi to taste India's historical culture. However, their erudite trip turned gloomy as soon as they reached the historic Taj Mahal.

After purchasing the tickets when they produced it to the checkers for frisking, they believed the students weren't Indians. The obvious reason to this was the students being from the north east resembling Asian features.

First the students produced their PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards. To this the officials present at the entrance said that wasn't enough as a PAN card doesn't testify whether they hailed from Assam or not. When the students flanked their college identity cards, the officials said though the college identity cards affirms that they were from Assam, but nowhere on the card it was written that Assam is in India.

On being contacted one student Kabyashree Sarma who is a part of the group said, "Such ludicrous behavior has left all of us dejected. Questioning our nationality makes us feel like aliens in our own nation."

As informed by Kabyashree Sarma, the ticket friskers at the gate also engaged in a verbal brawl with the Professor who was leading the entire group and possessed illegitimate questions. "They asked to name the Chief Minister of Assam and where in India, Assam is located, which subjected us to sheer humiliation", added Miss Sarma.

If sources are to be believed one reason for this incongruous behavior of the Taj Mahal officials can be the variation of the ticketing costs. Normal cost for an Indian is Rs. 20 per ticket, whereas cost of the same ticket escalates to Rs. 800 for a foreigner. Therefore the authorities have perhaps tried to indulge in malicious practices.

Though we tried to reach the Taj Mahal authorities for comments through call and e-mail, however both remain unanswered so far. A message seeking comments from the concerned officials have also been dropped through the website www.tajmahal.gov.in and answers are still awaited.

This is not the only incident where people from the northeastern community are subjected to violence and discrimination. Every other day new headlines bore witness to such instances. Though government has undertaken numerous measures, yet they haven't been audacious enough to deter the rate of crimes against northeasterners.

Symbolic for love and elegance, the Taj Mahal is counted one among the Seven Wonders of the World. At present the monument is under stringent security surveillance and frisking ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit, who would be in India for Republic Day celebrations. But, biased attitude towards the same fellowmen in the name of security check is unsolicited.

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