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Jumika hailed from Nagaland, where his family was supported solely by his father, who was a state government employee.
Quite tragically, Jumika was believed to have been hospitalised for drug use, when in fact, it was found that Tuberculosis bacteria has infected 30-40% of his brain. In a heartfelt email, IDIA Managing Trustee Prof Shamnad Basheer set the record straight.
“…Kept to himself and was often the victim of a subtle prejudice that we reserve for those from the North East of India. A prejudice that even translated to his very own classmates suspecting that his behaviour in the days leading up-to the hospitalisation was the result of drug use. Fortunately, when I visited him in hospital some weeks ago, we spoke to a range of students to confirm that this was merely hearsay and none of them could directly attest to ever seeing him use drugs…
…Anyway, we need to now work harder at redressing some of these issues…and creating an ecosystem that is less harsh to those at the margins. One that celebrates plurality and actively embraces difference and diversity.”
One of Jumika’s friends, Nicki Kanam, wrote a tribute to him on Facebook.
Image taken from Facebook.