Under attack, African students want to Quit India

Nayanima Basu Greater Noida | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on March 30, 2017

The Kenyan student, who was thrashed by some unidentified men near Knowledge Park, after receiving treatment at a hospital in Greater Noida on Wednesday PTI   -  PTI

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“The way those people were beating me up, I felt I would die. I don’t want to stay here any more. I will leave India and go to Dubai, Malaysia or London to pursue my higher studies,” said Imran Uba amidst his sobbing.

The 24-year-old student of Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) at the Noida International University (NIU) was beaten up by a mob near his university campus on Monday when he was returning from his sister’s house. Uba has incurred a medical bill of ₹16,000, which he is paying out of his own pocket.

This is not the first time that African students were attacked. Last May, a Congolese student Masonda Ketada Olivier was killed in Delhi by a mob.

Following the attack on Uba, African students staying in Greater Noida have been asked to stay indoors and not step out even to buy basic items without police protection. The only people allowed to go out are the student leaders and coordinators, who are distributing food and essential items to all the students. The situation worsened after Manish Khari, a Class XII student of Jaypee International School, died under mysterious circumstances on Saturday. While his parents claimed that he died due to overdose of drugs, allegdly supplied by their Nigerian neighbours, who are NIU students, the doctors said he died of a cardiac arrest.

“Our parents are now very scared. They are asking me to come back to Nigeria and relocate to some other country for studies,” said Najib Hamisu Umar, Nigerian Students Coordinator, who is doing his PhD in electrical engineering.

Umar said although the police have released the five Nigerian students who were arrested in connection with Manish’s death, their passports are still with the police.

According to Abdoulaye Brahim Mahamat, Senior Advisor and Former President, Association of African Students in India, the students were arrested merely on apprehension and since then there had been a spate of such attacks that have been happening on African nationals.

“There are many African students here. Their safety has now become a big concern. We need a fair justice for the students. These kind of racial attacks should be stopped,” Mahamat added.

Unacceptable: MEA

Calling these incidents as “unacceptable”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it is engaged with the authorities concerned as well as the students. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has already spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar had engaged with the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria. Meanwhile, India’s envoy to Nigeria was summoned on Thursday by the Nigerian government, which demanded immediate arrest of the attackers.

Stiking an assuaging note, MEA Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said here on Thursday that “Such acts represent the action of uninformed and misguided few. They do not detract from the deep belief of the Government and the people of India of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (world is one family). We will continue to welcome African people including students and youth as valuable partners.”

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien also condemned the attacks and said that strict action should be taken against the attackers. “Appearance of apathy stems from ignorance. We need to respect and accept Africans and understand that their presence amidst us is for our own benefit. What is needed is constant vigilance by the authorities concerned and our collective endeavour to take responsibility,” said Rajiv Bhatia, a former Indian High Commissioner to Kenya and South Africa.

Published on March 30, 2017
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