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Africa lambasts India, term recent attacks ‘xenophobic, racial’

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 03, 2017

The African envoys on Monday lambasted the Indian government for not taking adequate action against the recent spate of barbaric attacks against African students even as they demanded an independent enquiry into the matter by the Human Rights Council.

This came after the Heads of African Missions convened a special meeting on the recent incident that took place in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, in which five Nigerian students were beaten up following the death of a Class XII student – Manish Khari – who was a resident there.

Apart from demanding expeditious legal action against the perpetrators who attacked the Nigerian students, the dean also decided to take further actions including seeking an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights organisations. They are also planning to file a comprehensive report to the African Union Commission.

“Over the years such kinds of attacks have been happening on African students. Nothing concrete has taken place ever. It is time the Indian government takes this issue of racial attacks against African students seriously. If independent enquiry by the HRC is the only solution then why not?” Presidoe Okuguni, member of the Association of African Students in India told BusinessLine.

The Nigerian students were attacked by a local mob near their university campus and were brutally beaten up. The spate of attacks continued for almost a week since with stray incidents of African students being beaten up by local gangs.

In a strongly-worded letter to the Indian government, the Office of the Dean of the African Group Head of Missions stated they reviewed all previous incidents that have taken place in the past and found out that “no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India.”

Expressing concerns over the recent spate of incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Mission said that the attacks on African students have not been “sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities.”

“The meeting unanimously agreed that those accumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature,” they said adding that they expect “strong condemnation” from the higher political levels in India, both nationally as well as locally.

Meanwhile, African students studying in various colleges in Greater Noida continue to live in fear. Although they have resumed their classes again following a brief hiatus last week when the students were instructed not to step out of their houses, the possibility of a mob attack and harassment continues to linger, said an African student who studies in the Noida International University (NIU).

The students have been given emergency numbers of local police personnel in case they are being attacked or harassed by locals.

The five Nigerian students who were initially arrested on charges of murdering Khari have been released. They were even charged of cannibalism and eating up the boy when Khari did not return home that Friday night on March 24. He, however, turned up the following day but later died allegedly due to drug overdose.

Published on April 03, 2017
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