Snapshot from Vreegu Kashyap’s ‘Naach Baby Naach’

The latest release of popular Assamese singer Vreegu Kashyap’s ‘Naach Baby Naach’ has drawn criticism for its racist slur against people of Northeast origin, based on racial features.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

The opening remarks of the song, featuring the singer himself, starts with “Dehatu lovely lovely, Soku jur Chinki Chinki” (Your figure is lovely and your eyes are chinky).

Composed by Rekibul, Bastav Nath and Junaak Borah, was released on YouTube on Kashyap’s official channel on April 13.

The number has already received attention for being a recreation of a popular Bollywood number with a similar name. Now the lyrics has irked concerned citizens of the region for its derogatory remark despite legal frameworks against such acts.

Law against derogatory remarks against Northeast people

In 2015, the then Union home minister Rajnath Singh stated that calling people of Northeast origin by “derogatory” names such as “chinki” may land one in jail for up to five years, besides being non-bailable, reported Times of India.

The Centre also mentioned the implementation of sections 153C (imputations or assertions prejudicial to human dignity) and sections 509A (word, gesture or act intended to insult a member of a particular racial group) of the Indian Penal Code against the persons commenting the derogatory remarks. The statement came as per the recommendations of the MK Bezbaruah Committee that was formed to examine the racism against Northeast people.

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In 2016, the Supreme Court ordered the Centre for its quick implementation.

Chapter II- Offences of Atrocities of The Scheduled Castes And The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention  Of  Atrocities) Act, 1989  states that “Whoever,  not  being  a  member  of  a  Scheduled  Caste or  a Scheduled  Tribe,-

  • by words  either  written  or  spoken  or  by  signs  or  by  visible  representation  or  otherwise promotes  or  attempts  to  promote  feelings  of  enmity,  hatred  or  ill-will  against  members  of  the Scheduled Castes  or  the  Scheduled  Tribes;
  • by words  either  written  or  spoken  or  by  any  other  means  disrespects  any  late  person  held  in high esteem  by  members of  the  Scheduled Castes  or  the Scheduled  Tribes;

shall  be  punishable  with  imprisonment  for  a  term  which  shall  not  be  less  than  six  months  but  which  may extend to  five years and with fine.”

Furthermore, the  Scheduled  Castes  and  the  Scheduled  Tribes  (Prevention  of Atrocities)  Amendment  Rules,  2016 formulated by the Ministry  Of  Social  Justice  And  Empowerment mentions one lakh rupees to the victim. Payment to be made as follows:

  • 25 percent at First Information Report (FIR) stage
  • 50 percent when the charge sheet is sent to the court
  • 25 percent when the accused are convicted by the lower court.
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Kashyap’s song has been seen as an utter negligence of the law and most importantly a negligence of the sentiments of the racial features of the people of his homeland. Whether any feasible steps will be taken to prevent such occurrence in the future or will it be ignored as ‘creative freedom’ by the viewers remains to be seen.

“The lyrics of this recent number says ‘chinki chinki eyes’. How more insensitive can it get coming from a ‘popular’ #Assamese singer, when people from #NortheastIndia is at the receiving end of such #racist slurs in Indian metros? I am truly ashamed,” tweeted Kaustabh Deka, an assistant professor of Dibrugarh University.

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About Barasha Das

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Barasha Das is a journalist working in Northeast India region.

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