Posted on April 4, 2017

African Envoys: India Attacks on Nigerians ‘Racial’

BBC, April 3, 2017

Envoys from African nations in the Indian capital, Delhi, have condemned the handling of recent attacks on Nigerian students in the city.

In a statement, the African Heads of Mission said the attacks were “xenophobic and racial”.

Indian authorities had failed to “sufficiently condemn” the attacks or take “visible deterring measures”, the envoys added.

The students were attacked last month in Greater Noida, close to Delhi.

Five Nigerian students were attacked by crowds, while another was beaten by a mob inside a shopping mall.

The violence was prompted by the death of a local teenager due to a drug overdose. His parents blame Nigerian students for giving him the drugs.

Police say five people have been arrested over the violence and India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has promised an “impartial” inquiry.

But the African Heads of Mission said that the response was inadequate, and called for an investigation by the UN Human Rights Council.

They also called for “strong condemnation from the highest political level (both nationally and locally) of the government of India, as well as expediting legal actions against the perpetrators”.

The attack on one student inside the shopping mall was recorded on mobile phone cameras by other shoppers and widely circulated on social media.

The victim told Indian reporters he had been beaten with rods, bricks and knives. He said that no one had helped or even called the police.

Many Indians have reacted with shame online. But there have been a number of incidents in recent years in which people from African nations living in India have faced apparent discrimination or violence.

In May 2016 a Congolese man was beaten to death in Delhi after an argument over an auto-rickshaw. Three months before that, a Tanzanian student was assaulted and partially stripped by a mob in the southern city of Bangalore. A Nigerian man living in Goa was stabbed to death in 2013.

Meanwhile, police say a Kenyan woman accused of faking a race attack in Greater Noida will be deported. The woman said she had been dragged out of a taxi by five men two days after the mob violence, but police said their investigation and the taxi’s GPS tracker proved her story wrong. Her visa had expired, they added.