The brutal attack on Nido Taniam took place at the crowded Lajpat Nagar I market in south Delhi Wednesday afternoon, leading to internal and other injuries that caused his death in a hospital Thursday.
The death, dubbed a “racial attack” by activists, caused outrage, with parliamentarians from the northeast deciding to lodge a protest with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday.
The Delhi government ordered a probe into the “murderous assault”.
Police registered a case of murder and nabbed the two accused, Farhan and Akram, who are in their 20s and run the Rajasthan Paneer Shop.
It all began when Taniam, a student of Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, and a friend approached the shop seeking directions.
Farhan and Akram reportedly made fun of Taniam’s hairstyle and clothes. The youngster had coloured his hair blonde and wore red trousers.
The Arunachal teens protested against the comments, leading to heated arguments with Farhan and Akram.
Police said the furious Taniam, son of Arunachal Pradesh legislator Nido Pavitra, entered the shop and hit a glass-topped table, shattering it.
Alerted by a shopkeeper, police took Taniam and his friend as well as Farhan and Akram to police station where Taniam paid Rs.10,000 for breaking the table.
According to Taniam’s relatives, police then dropped Taniam near the shop where another argument broke out.
This time, the accused thrashed Taniam, his cousin told the media.
Deputy Commissioner of Police P. Karunakaran said “a compromise was struck between the youths and the shopkeepers at the police station” and all of them were then allowed to leave.
A relative said Taniam had injuries on his neck and his lip was torn.
His friends took him to the All India Institute of Medical Science where he died Thursday evening. The incident came to light Friday.
Taniam had come to Delhi to meet his elder sister who studies in Delhi University.
Takam Sanjoy, MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said: “A delegation headed by Rajya Sabha MP Mukut Mithi will meet the prime minister Saturday and discuss the incident. This type of discrimination in the form of racism won’t be tolerated.
“We will discuss the matter with the home minister too and discuss the way Delhi Police handled the whole incident,” he added.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) blamed Delhi Police for the death.
“The way police picked him up and then dropped him at the same spot needs to be looked into,” AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said.
Police said they were questioning Farhan and Akram to get to the bottom of the matter.
Angry students from the northeast in Delhi have threatened a protest Saturday.