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After African Heads of Mission warning, Indian FM vows action against racist attacks
May 25, 2016, 7:04 am

File photo: African students protest in Bangalore against the racist attack on a Tanzanian woman in the southern Indian city of Bangalore [Xinhua]

File photo: African students protest in Bangalore against the racist attack on a Tanzanian woman in the southern Indian city of Bangalore [Xinhua]

The Indian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday attempted to assure the African Heads of Mission that it is “committed to the safety and security of African nationals in India”. This follows protests by the African diplomatic community in New Delhi that is boycotting this year’s Africa Day celebrations in the wake of an alleged racist attack against a Congolese national last week.

“The Group of African Heads of Mission have met and deliberated extensively on this latest incidence in the series of attacks to which members of the African community have been subjected to in the last several years,” said Eritrean Ambassador Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, who is also dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission, in a statement.

“They strongly condemn the brutal killing of this African and calls on the Indian government to take concrete steps to guarantee the safety and security of Africans in India,” it said.

India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said she has directed her deputy minister V.K. Singh to “assure the heads of missions of African countries in Delhi of the Indian government’s commitment to the safety and security of African nationals”.

“We will also launch a sensitization program to reiterate that such incidents against foreign nationals embarrass the country,” she tweeted.

The government will ensure the case is tried by a fast-track court, the Minister promised on Wednesday.

A  29-year old Congolese national Masonda Ketada Oliver, was mercilessly beaten to death by three Indian youth on Friday after a verbal altercation over the hiring of an auto-rickshaw in south Delhi.

Oliver was hit on the head with a brick, leading to his death, witnesses were quoted by local media reports.

African Heads of Mission chief, Woldemariam has said the group have noted with deep concern that “several attacks and harassment of Africans have gone unnoticed without diligent prosecution and conviction of perpetrators”.

He said that given the climate of fear and insecurity in Delhi, “the African heads of mission are left with little option than to consider recommending their governments not to send new students to India, unless and until their safety can be granted”.

“Accordingly, the Indian government is strongly enjoined to take urgent steps to guarantee the safety of Africans in India including appropriate programmes of public awareness that will address the problems of racism and Afro-phobia in India,” he said, and called on the media, civil society, think tanks, research institutions, parliamentarians, politicians and community leaders to play major roles in addressing the stereotypes and prejudices against Africans in India.

As for the Africa Day celebrations being organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on May 26, Woldemariam said that they have requested that the event be postponed, and the African nations have also decided not to participate in the celebrations, except for a cultural troupe from Lesotho.

“This is because the African community in India, including students, are in a state of mourning in memory of the slain African students in the last few years, including Oliver,” it added.

Earlier this year in February, a mob, in India’s tech-city Bangalore, mercilessly thrashed a Tanzanian woman and her companion.

In another such racist attack, three African men (from Gabon and Burkina Faso) were beaten at a tube station in New Delhi in 2014 by a mob that chanted “Victory for Mother India,” according to news reports of the incident that were posted on YouTube.

The ambassadors of Gabon and Burkina Faso had written to the Indian Foreign Ministry “expressing deep concern” and urging the government to “work in close cooperation with police for a fair investigation”.

“They kept calling us ‘Nigerians, Nigerians’…took turns to hit us,” an Indian daily, the Indian Express quoted the horror faced by the three Africans in the Indian capital.

A former law minister of Delhi was also accused in 2014 of harassing African women after he led a vigilante mob through an area of the capital, accusing the women of being prostitutes.



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2 Responses to After African Heads of Mission warning, Indian FM vows action against racist attacks

  1. Tahul Reply

    May 25, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Attack on BRICS by CIA/Mossad/Western Intel plot to ruin African-Indian relations? Especially when Gandhi influenced MLK and Malcolm X?

    • Sanjay Reply

      May 26, 2016 at 2:28 am

      Tahul, I’m an Indian, and I think your brain is fouled up. Problem is that Indian media hypes and sensationalizes everything – turns everything into a loud circus, whether it’s Nepal quake, whether it’s an experimental space launch, or anything at all. The Indian media love to stir up trouble.

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