Attacks on African nationals criminal not racist act: Indian government
After envoys of 44 African countries condemned the recent attacks on their nationals in India, the Indian government said it was unfortunate that a criminal act triggered after the death of a student was being described as as "xenophobic and racial".
"t is unfortunate that a criminal act triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances has been termed as xenophobic and racial. Investigations on the death of Indian teenager and the subsequent incident by local authorities are ongoing," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The external affairs ministry also clarified that the government was committed to enuring the safety of African nationals in India and had called the attacks on Nigerian nationals unacceptable.
In its statement, the government outlined the steps which had been taken after the attacks on the Nigerian nationals.
"Following EAM's (External Affairs Ministry) conversation immediately after the incident with the Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh, local authorities expeditiously arrested suspects. They registered an FIR and are investigating the matter comprehensively. Local authorities have also taken measures to strengthen safety and security of Nigerian nationals. Coordination meetings have been held by local police in Delhi as well as Greater NOIDA, with African nationals. Ministry of External Affairs has further sensitised local authorities towards ensuring safety and security of Africans in general and African students in particular."
Earlier Monday, African representatives, who recently held a meeting on the incidents, said they "unanimously agreed that those accumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature."
They also criticised the Indian government for not taking sufficient steps to prevent such incidents.
Four Nigerian students were recently attacked by a group of residents from Delhi suburb Greater Noida after a 17-year-old boy in their locality died of suspected drug overdose. The locals had alleged that the teenager was "drugged to death" by certain African nationals.
The vicious assault was captured on camera and shared widely on social media, triggering concern over a rise in racist violence against Africans in India.
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)
The mob who attacked the Nigerian students was initially carrying out a protest march after the police released some Nigerians detained for questioning in connection with the death for "lack of evidence".
After the meeting, the African enoys called for an independent investigation by the UN's Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies and also for a comprehensive report on the matter to the Commission of the African Union.
They said they expected a strong condemnation from the highest political level both nationally and locally.
A press release dated March 31 from the office of the dean of the African group head of the missions here, said the meeting was convened to look into the recent attacks against African students in Greater Noida.
The press release stated that they had reviewed the incidents that have taken place in the past and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Indian government.
Condemning the recent attacks, the envoys also expressed their deep concern and noted that these "reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities".
There are missions of more than 50 African countries which are accredited to India.
(WION with inputs from agencies)