Attack on Nigerian nationals not a hate crime: Greater Noida District Magistrate

In the video, a man is lying helplessly on the ground, trying to shield himself, as the people surrounding him attack with a metal stool and a chair. Photograph:( Others )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 28, 2017, 04.31 AM (IST)

The top government official of Greater Noida, Nagendra Prasad Singh, Tuesday refused to declare the alleged attack on Nigerian students a hate crime.

"It is absolutely not a hate crime, nor is it some kind of anger against a race. A few people have spread rumours regarding the death of a youth which gave rise to anger. The incident happened in continuity of that," District Magistrate Nagendra Prasad Singh said.

He added the district administration will ensure that such incidents do not get repeated in the future and that harmony prevails.

"We will not let the nation's image get hampered," said the DM who met a Nigerian delegation regarding the attack.

The Ministry of External Affairs condemned the attack in a statement and said the government was committed to ensuring safety of foreigners in India. 

Union minister MJ Akbar said he had spoken to the acting high commissioner in Nigeria and apprised him of the steps being taken by local authorities for safety of Nigerian nationals.

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Three Nigerian students, who are currently hospitalised, were attacked by a mob of around 1000 Monday evening after a Class 12 student in their area died of drug overdose. His parents alleged he had accessed it from the Nigerians.

The crowd was holding a candlelight protest over the death of the student when they spotted the Nigerian students at Greater Noida's Ansal Plaza shopping mall.

A video of the attack on one of the students was subsequently posted by the African Students in India student group onto their Facebook page.

In the video, taken from a floor above, a man is lying helplessly on the ground, rolling around trying to shield himself, as the people surrounding him attack with a metal stool and a chair, a metal garbage can, and take turns pummelling him with kicks and closed fists. 

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister about the alleged attack on the African students after a foreign student pleaded with her for swift action, saying living in the area was becoming a "life threatening" issue.

Swaraj said the central government was taking immediate action and that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had assured her of a fair and impartial investigation into this "unfortunate" incident.

 

Late Monday evening, the African Students in India student group posted a video of another attack on an African student on Monday night in Greater Noida's Ansal Plaza (WION)

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This is not the first time this has happened in India. 

An attack on African students at a Metro station in Delhi in October 2014 culminated in the mob shouting "Bharat mata ki jai", or "Praise be to Mother India".  

In May 2016 violence in New Delhi against Africans was in the spotlight after a brutal stoning to death of Congolese national Masunda Kitada Oliver in a dispute over an auto-rickshaw, while in July 2016, a New Delhi security guard beat up a student from Congo. 

And in February 2016, a Tanzanian student was stripped of her clothes and assaulted by a mob in Bengaluru.

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Sushma Swaraj's calling Yogi Adityanath this morning may take on even greater significance in light of this new attack.

"I have spoken to Yogi Adityanath ji Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident (sic)," she said in a series of tweets.

Responding to a tweet from a student who requested her to "act fast as living for us in Noida is becoming a life threatening issue", she said that the central government was seized of the matter.


"We are taking immediate action," she added.

 

Samuel T Jack, the president of the association of African students in India, spoke to WION on the recent attacks on African students in Greater Noida (WION)

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(WION)