Chilling encounter

Published : Sep 21, 2012 00:00 IST

LOBSANG NORGAY is a 21-year-old Tibetan student at one of Bangalores prestigious colleges. August 14 is a day he will not forget in a hurry. Travelling in an autorickshaw just after eight in the evening on Bangalores Outer Ring Road near Bellandur, he was accosted by two motorcycle-borne youth, who, he claims, gave him dirty looks. Driving parallel to his autorickshaw, they spoke to the driver in a language Lobsang did not understand.

All of a sudden another motorbike overtook the autorickshaw and beckoned the driver to stop. The youth asked him to get out and before he knew it they yanked him by his collar and beat him across his thighs with a bamboo pole. With his protestations and questions eliciting no answers except the choicest of profanities, Lobsang says that the only thing he could do was try to take cover behind the autorickshaw driver. But when six to seven more hoodlums appeared, even this proved futile.

The autorickshaw driver tried to reason with the attackers, but they kept shouting. They seemed to be really angry about something, but I had no idea what. All I wanted to do was run away, but they kept pushing me back. Finally, after screaming at me for what seemed like forever, they let me go.

For Lobsang, the experience, coming as it did on the heels of at least a dozen messages asking him to get out of Bangalore, was enough for him to take the first available bus to his hometown of Mundgod (a Tibetan settlement) in Karnatakas Uttar Kanara district. He said: While I have always experienced strange looks and comments, this has made me feel very unsafe. People beat me just because of morphed pictures.... I am really worried what can happen.

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