Indian assures security and safety of African nationals

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to meet African students to assure them of their safety and security in India

Indian assures security and safety of African nationals

In wake of the recent attacks on the African nationals, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to meet African students to assure them of their safety and security in India.

The Centre Monday assured the family members of Congolese national Masunda Oliver, who was brutally killed in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, that speedy trial would take place in the case and all the three accused would be prosecuted as per the law.

Birender Yadav, Joint Secretary (West Africa), who met the family members of Oliver at the airport, offered his heartfelt condolences and informed that the Indian government would bear all the expenses to dispatch his mortal remains back to the Congo.

President Paranab Mukherjee expressed deep concern over attacks on African nationals. President Monday  said that attack is not tolerable as India's relationship with African countries is close, and always we considered.

Vice President Hamid Ansari also condemned the assaults on African nationals calling them despicable. He said they are our guests and should be looked after in the wake of the violation of law and order.

Interacting with media on board his aircraft before arriving in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, Ansari said, “Attack on anyone, whether own person or guest, is despicable.”

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju earlier had dubbed the recent attacks as unfortunate and said the government will try its best to avoid such episodes in the future.

"After what has happened with the African students in Delhi, we are holding regular meetings to come up with ways to sensitise the local people," Rijiju said.

"Arrests have already been made and the foreign ministry is also looking into the matter along with home ministry. I also had a meeting with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the same," he added.

African countries demand concrete steps against 'Afrophobia' and racism, Sushma promises 'stringent action'.

On 20 May, a Congolese national was beaten to death by three men after an altercation over hiring of an autorickshaw in Vasant Kunj area turned violent.

On 25 May, a Nigerian student in Hyderabad was allegedly beaten by an Indian over a parking dispute.

On 28 May, four separate cases of alleged assault on African nationals in the national capital was reported, adding to the growing number of such attacks. Five people were arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the incidents on the African nationals on Sunday. The African nationals had sustained minor injuries in the attack that took place in South Delhi's Mehrauli area on Friday.

The accused have been arrested are identified as Babu (32), Kunal (20), Om Prakash (24), Rahul alias Rocky (24) and Ajay (25). The police are carrying out search operations to nab the other accused persons.

Sushma  Swaraj Sunday spoke to Rajnath Singh and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung about the attacks and said she was assured that the culprits would soon be arrested.

On Monday, several African students staged a protest at Jantar Mantar against increasing attacks on them and demanded that the Indian government act swiftly to stop such incidents.

The protestors said the incidents of attacks on people from African continent are increasing in the city. They demanded protection from the government.

“ The Indian government needs to ensure safety of African nationals and act swiftly on such incidents,” said a protestor at Jantar Mantar.

The Indian government has assured angry African envoys of protection to their nationals in India, with Sushma Swaraj personally monitoring the developments.

An Ola Cab driver, Nooruddin, was thrashed allegedly by six Africans Monday for refusing to take more than four of them in his car. They allegedly inflicted severe injuries on the driver’s face. He managed to hold on to one of the assailants, a woman, with the help of some truckers passing by, while the other five fled. The arrested woman has been identified as Nefa, a 26-year-old Rwandan.

In Telangana,  Director General of Police Anurag Sharma said that Africans living in Hyderabad and elsewhere in the state "can rest assured about their safety", adding there is "no racism here".

"There is no racism here. All are equal. Still, we will take further care to ensure their safety in the wake of the attacks reported in the recent times and the concerns raised over their safety," Sharma said at a media interactio in the wake of President Pranab Mukherjee commenting on the issue of safety of Africans in India.

The police chief asserted that the attack on 23-year-old Nigerian student Kazeem Dami in Hyderabad last week was a clear case of dispute over car parking and had nothing to do with racism as alleged by the student. "The accused in that case was arrested for assaulting on the student (Nigerian)," the DGP said.

Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said that Goans are "annoyed" with the behaviour, attitude and way of life of Nigerians living in the coastal state.

Speaking to IANS, Parsekar also said that he was getting complaints against Nigerians on many occasions from locals.

"The Goans in general are complaining about these foreigners. We get people from all other countries, but in general the people of Goa are very much annoyed with their (Nigerians') behaviour, with their attitude, with their way of life," Parsekar said, even as police on Monday arrested a Nigerian for allegedly raping a 31-year-old woman in Assagao village, 20 km from Panaji.

"I cannot generalise. But generally people in Goa are not happy with these people," Parsekar said, adding that he regularly hears complaints about Nigerians.

Earlier, Goa's Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar had demanded a new law to facilitate quick deportation of Nigerians, who Parulekar claimed got embroiled in criminal cases on purpose, in order to extend their stay in India.

"Nigerians create problem not just in Goa, but in the entire country. Nigerian students come to Goa and India to study, they get an FIR filed (against them), make it a judicial matter and they try to stay in India or Goa and indulge in drugs and other unwanted things," Parulekar said on Monday.

With inputs from IANS