Women from the India Reserve Battalion of the Nagaland Armed Police stand in formation during Republic Day celebrations in Dimapur in Nagaland state on Jan. 26, 2019. Migrants from the region working in other parts of India have complained of being called Chinese and coronavirus carriers. (Photo: Caisii Mao/AFP)
Migrants from India's Christian-dominated northeastern states have complained of discrimination, saying they are accused of carrying coronavirus just because of their Mongoloid facial features.Northeastern youths in national capital New Delhi and other cities have complained of being turned away from grocery shops and supermarkets for fear that they could be carrying the virus.
As coronavirus was first reported in China last December, some Indians have linked the virus with people from the northeast who they think look like Chinese people.Several videos have gone viral showing young people from the northeast being denied entry to shops under the pretext that they carry coronavirus."We too are Indians ... please do not discriminate us," screamed a young man in a video after he was denied entry and stood outside a store.
Mizoram has some 1.12 million people, 88 percent of them Christians, mostly Baptists.Tribal Christians dominate four of the seven northeastern Indian states — Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.In Baptist-dominated Mizoram, the only confirmed Covid-19 case was of a pastor who had returned from Amsterdam after a European tour.In Meghalaya, more than 3,000 people have been kept under surveillance, though the state has not reported any confirmed coronavirus case.Individual Christians and a few pastors of Mizoram churches undertook mass prayers on March 28 evening to seek heavenly intervention from the deadly coronavirus.A spokesman for the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, a conglomerate of 16 major churches under the Mizoram Presbyterian Church of India, said the special prayers sought "the merit of the people of Mizoram, India and the entire world."Churches in Mizoram have decided not to observe Good Friday and other Easter-related prayer services due to the Covid-19 outbreak in India, which has reported 1,397 confirmed cases and 35 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data on April 1.