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India orders probe into attack on Nigerian student
May 28, 2016, 5:24 am

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

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

Days after the African Heads of Mission in New Delhi announced a boycott of this year’s Africa Day celebrations in the wake of rising racist attacks, there has been yet another brutal attack on a 23-year old Nigerian student in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

India’s foreign ministry has now sought a report from the local government in the state of Telangana over the assault, officials said Friday.

“On reports of a Nigerian student injured in Hyderabad, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has urgently sought report from state government and is monitoring the case,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The Nigerian national was attacked in Hyderabad city, the capital of Telangana on Wednesday.

“The situation in India is no longer safe for us. Even the police are not willing to help us when we approach them,” said Emmanuel Omurunga, chairman of the African Students Association, Telangana on Wednesday.

Local media reports said the 23-year-old Nigerian student Bamilola Kazim was thrashed by locals over a parking dispute. Kazim reportedly suffered injuries and was hospitalized.

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”.

India is home to a large number of African nationals, a majority of them students.

African Heads of Mission chief and Eritrean Ambassador Alem Tsehage 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”.

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

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

 

TBP and Agencies

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