An immigration officer allegedly quizzed her on knowledge of India because her face apparently did not seem Indian to him.
What was supposed to be a pleasant trip turned humiliatory for Manipuri woman Monika Khangembam who had to face racist comments from an immigration officer at the Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi. En route to Seoul for a conference, she took to social media to report her experience.
After the incident on Saturday, Khangembam wrote on her Facebook wall that she was told: 'Indian toh nahi lagti ho' (you don't look Indian). She was then allegedly quizzed by the officer about the number of states in India and the states surrounding Manipur, her home state. Despite telling him she was running late, her persisted in having her answer all his questions to prove her 'Indianness'.
After her story was picked up by news agencies, Khangembam put up another Facebook post responding to people's queries regarding her experience. She wrote: 'I wouldn't have minded if he asked me trip-related questions[...] 'Name the states bordering Manipur'. This is not related to the trip nor I am a kid' (sic).
Describing herself as 'humiliated' after the incident, in her post she called attention to the microaggressions Indians from the North East face on a daily basis.
Responding to her story, the public took to Twitter urging External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take action against such behaviour by officials. Swaraj responded promptly, and on Sunday tweeted an apology for Khangembam's treatment. She also assured action, stating she would meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh to 'sensitise immigration officials'.
Khangembam plans on filing a case with the Delhi police upon returning from her trip.