NEW DELHI: An activist from Manipur has complained that she was asked by an immigration officer at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here if she was actually (pakka) an Indian and how many states were there in India, stirring up a racism row, and drawn a promise from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to sensitise airport officials.
Monika Khangembam, who was on her way to attend an international conference in Seoul, wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “What a bully and never felt so humiliated. It was like it was his mission to make me realise my ‘Indianness’ and he thought he was being funny. I was running late and felt I was giving in to the bully. Spoiled my night. Is there a way to complain against these bullies?”
Despite telling the officer that she was running late for her departure, Monika, who is the founder of Women and Youth for Peace and Development and vice-curator of Global Shapers Imphal Hub (a World Economic Forum initiative), was asked to name the states bordering Manipur. Her Facebook post went viral and was reported about by northeastern media houses and it was brought to the notice of Sushma on Twitter. She responded quickly and tweeted that even though immigration didn’t come under her ministry, she would talk to Home Minister Rajnath Singh about sensitising immigration officers. “I am sorry to know this. Immigration is not with me.”
Monika was bound for the South Korean capital to participate in the 10th Ewha Global Empowerment Progra and present a paper on ‘Manipuri women and conflict’ at the two-day seminar.