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. 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).
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.
In 2013, World Values Survey reported 43.5% of Indians responded that they would prefer not to have neighbors of a different race. 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.
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. Many North-Eastern Indians face discrimination; are refused living accommodations when they travel to urban areas to study; and are subjected to racial slurs 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.
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.
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.
In 2014, a North-Eastern student named Nido Taniam was killed in New Delhi.
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
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, and a second where a North-East student was beaten by seven men in Gurgaon, Haryana.
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. 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. 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." Overall, 98 non-locals were killed in Assam during 2007.
In March and April 2008, a banned Meitei outfit killed 16 non-locals in Manipur. PHS alleged that anti-social groups in Assam were carrying out a continuous hate campaign against the Hindi speakers in the region.
In May 2009, nine Hindi speakers were killed in Assam and Manipur, after the attackers set around 70 houses on fire.
During 8–10 November 2010, 21 Hindi, Bengali, and Nepali speakers were killed by a faction of the NDFB in Assam.
In Meghalaya, the non-indigenous people (who are collectively called Dkhars) are often targets of militant groups.
In the National Capital Region many African nationals have been attacked and subjected to public abuse and racial slurs.
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