Ethnic relations in India have historically been complex. (It refers to attitudes and behaviours toward people of other ethnicities or races.) India is ethnically diverse, with more than 2,000 different ethnic groups.[1] There is also significant diversity within regions, and almost every province has its own distinct mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and culture. Throughout the history of India, ethnic relations have been both positive (as with mutual cultural influences) and negative (as with discrimination against other ethnicities).

Public attitudes

Usually, people in different regions respect each other's cultures and traditions. According to local sources, unity in diversity has been growing in India, making the country more tolerant.[2]

In 2013, World Values Survey reported 43.5% of Indians responded that they would prefer not to have neighbors of a different race.[3][4] The most recent survey, however, in 2016, conducted by the World Values Survey, found that 25.6% of the people living in India would not want a person of a different race to be their neighbour.[5]

Racism against North-East Indians

In recent years discrimination against people from North-East India has been reported. In 2007, the North East Support Centre & Helpline (NESC&H) was started as a separate wing of All India Christian Council. Its stated goal is to increase awareness regarding prejudice and attacks against people from North-East India.[6] Many North-Eastern Indians face discrimination; are refused living accommodations when they travel to urban areas to study;[7] and are subjected to racial slurs[8] in reference to the appearance of their eyes. A spokesman for the NESC&H has stated that abuse and harassment of North-Easterners is increasing.[9]

A study from the North-East Support Centre & Helpline reported that 86% of North-East people in 2009–2010 said they faced racial discrimination in metro cities of India, based on such cultural profiling.[10]

In 2012, in an attempt to prevent discrimination, the Indian government asked all of its states and union territories to arrest anyone who commits an act of atrocity against a North-Easterner under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.[11][12][13]

In 2014, a North-Eastern student named Nido Taniam was killed in New Delhi.[14]

On 24 January 2014, two women from Manipur were assaulted and thrashed by locals at Kotla Mubarakpur, Delhi. They were at first hurled racial abuses but when they did not react to this, one of the accused tied the leash of his pet dog to one of the women's boots. Then she started kicking the dog away being scared that it would bite her. Then the attackers started beating her and when the other woman intervened, they dragged her out by the hair. According to them, despite being in the lane crowded with people, no one came to help them[15]

in October 2014, there were two separate incidents, one in which a North-East student was beaten by three men in Bangalore for not speaking Kannada,[16][17] and a second where a North-East student was beaten by seven men in Gurgaon, Haryana.[18]

Assam and other North Eastern States

In Assam India, there have been many attacks on those from outside the region. In 2007, thousands of Hindi-speaking labourers fled from Assam after a series of massacres and bomb attacks. In May 2007, nine of them were killed and another 20 injured in violent attacks.[19] The next month, 26 people from other parts of India were killed in a series of attacks over a period of six days. The police blamed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and the Karbi Longri National Liberation Front for the violence.[20] In response, the members of Purvottar Hindustani Sammelan (PHS) staged a hunger strike in Dispur to protest against the "merciless killings of innocent and defenceless Hindi-speaking people."[21] Overall, 98 non-locals were killed in Assam during 2007.[22]

In March and April 2008, a banned Meitei outfit killed 16 non-locals in Manipur.[23] PHS alleged that anti-social groups in Assam were carrying out a continuous hate campaign against the Hindi speakers in the region.[24]

In May 2009, nine Hindi speakers were killed in Assam and Manipur, after the attackers set around 70 houses on fire.[25]

During 8–10 November 2010, 21 Hindi, Bengali, and Nepali speakers were killed by a faction of the NDFB in Assam.[26]

In Meghalaya, the non-indigenous people (who are collectively called Dkhars) are often targets of militant groups.[27]


In the National Capital Region many African nationals have been attacked and subjected to public abuse and racial slurs.[28]

See also


  1. ^ US Department of State (17 April 2012). "Background Note: India". Archived from the original on 18 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Unity in diversity is basis for India". The Hindu. Dindigul, India. 9 January 2010.
  3. ^ "WVS Database (2005-2009, Question V35)". World Values Survey. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  4. ^ "A fascinating map of the world's most and least racially tolerant countries". The Washington Post. 15 May 2013. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  5. ^ World Values Survey Archived 2019-09-08 at the Wayback Machine, CERRSE, Jain University on behalf of Institute for Comparative Survey Research, Table V37
  6. ^ "About NE Support Centre & Helpline". North East Support Centre & Helpline. 5 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Delhi won't lend a home to students from northeast". Hindustan Times. New Delhi, India. 9 August 2013. Archived from the original on 9 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Students from North East tired of discrimination". NDTV. New Delhi, India. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Northeast students question 'racism' in India". India edunews. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  10. ^ Haokip, Thongkholal (18 May 2020). "From 'Chinky' to 'Coronavirus': racism against Northeast Indians during the Covid-19 pandemic". Asian Ethnicity. Jawaharlal Nehru University. 22 (2): 353–373. doi:10.1080/14631369.2020.1763161. ISSN 1463-1369.
  11. ^ "POA 1 SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989". 13 August 2013. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Blackburn, Simon (14 March 2019), "Judgment, Reasons, and Feelings", The Act and Object of Judgment, Routledge, pp. 151–164, doi:10.4324/9780429435317-8, ISBN 9780429435317, S2CID 150811833
  13. ^ "POA 2 SCs and STs (PoA) Rules 1995". 13 August 2013. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "Nido Tania: Arunachal MLA's son 'beaten to death' in Delhi, anger spills over". The Times of India. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Two Manipuri women allegedly assaulted by a group of men in Delhi". Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  16. ^ Maya Sharma (15 October 2014). "Northeast Student Attacked in Bangalore, Allegedly For Not Speaking Kannada". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Manipuri student attacked in Bangalore, 3 arrested". Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  18. ^ "After Bangalore, it's Gurgaon: N-E students brutally assaulted". Yahoo News India. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  19. ^ Subir Bhaumik (23 May 2007). "Persecution of Assam's Hindi speakers". BBC
  20. ^ Wasbir Hussain (12 August 2007). "30 Killed in Northeast Violence in India". Washington Post.
  21. ^ Hindustani Sammelan stages fast-unto-death". Hindustan Times. 17 August 2007.
  22. ^ "Militant Attacks on Non-Locals in Assam". SATP. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  23. ^ "Manipur rebels kill Hindi speakers". UPI. 18 June 2008.
  24. ^ "Allegation of harassment of Hindi-speaking people". DNA. 16 June 2008.
  25. ^ "Nine Hindi-speaking people among 12 killed in Northeast". Hindustan Times. 12 May 2009.
  26. ^ "Nine attacks since Monday, toll now 22". Indian Express. 10 November 2010.
  27. ^ T. Haokip, "Inter-Ethnic Relations in Meghalaya", Asian Ethnicity, 15:3, 302-316, DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2013.853545
  28. ^ Naqvi, Muneeza (9 June 2016). "'We are scared'—Africans in India say racism is constant". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020.