A day after media highlighted the lack of response to cries for help from the father of an African student who is in a coma for the last over two months after a brutal assault, the Punjab government on Friday announced an assistance of Rs five lakh. Earlier, the government had also assured of strict action against all the accused, irrespective of their social stature.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said that the student "will get justice at all cost...whosoever is behind the crime will be dealt with sternly", a day after Nestor Ntibateganya, father of the youth, claimed that he had not received any response to the two letters he wrote to the chief minister for his intervention in the matter.
"We are prepared to provide all possible help to the student...the government will not hesitate in taking action even if the persons involved in the crime are influential ones," Badal said, adding he did not know about the incident earlier. "But now it is in my knowledge, he will get justice."
Earlier in the day, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal announced all help to the family and assured of strict action against all the accused, irrespective of their social stature.
"I have come to know from the media that Nestor Ntibateganya, the father of 24-year-old Burundi student Yannick Nizhanga, has sought help from the state government, and accordingly, instructed chief secretary Rakesh Singh to immediately get in touch with Nestor and provide every required help to him," he told Hindustan Times.
Even Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini has been instructed to probe the attack on the foreigner, so that any other accused could be booked, said Sukhbir, who also holds the home portfolio.
Instructions had been issued to police commissioner Gaurav Yadav to deal with the case on priority, he added. Sukhbir said he had personally instructed Yadav not to spare anybody, whosoever he may be, even if remotely involved in the attack on the foreign national.
However, Sukhbir ruled out that it was a "racial attack", maintaining that it was a scuffle between two groups on some minor issue.
It is pertinent to mention here that Yannick Nihangaza (24), a student of BSc computers first year at Lovely Professional University (LPU) near Jalandhar, was battling for life at Columbia Asia Hospital in Patiala after the brutal attack on April 21, even as police were yet to arrest one of the three accused in this case.
He was beaten up outside his rented accommodation in Dashmesh Nagar, while he was celebrating the birthday of a compatriot Astro, also a student in LPU. Based on a complaint by an auto-rickshaw driver Charanjit Sidhu, police had booked Sahil Deep Singh, his brother Aman Deep Singh (both residents of Mota Singh Nagar) and Sumit Bunny of Jawahar Nagar in the case. While Sumit and Sahil were arrested, Amandeep is at large.
Meanwhile, police commissioner Gaurav Yadav maintained that the involvement of a son of a senior police officer in the case was yet to be ascertained.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of Burundi, Rubuka Aloys, met with secretary west Sanjay Singh in New Delhi on Friday and discussed the case.
The meeting came after the envoy wrote to the MEA, seeking legal help and ensure justice for the student's family.
Singh assured the envoy all possible help by the MEA in the case, sources said.
The Burundi envoy said that the governments of both the countries were concerned over the incident.
Dismissing suggestions that it could be a racial attack, Aloys said there were 60 students from his country studying in Jalandhar and they had good relation with Indians.
"It is not a racist attack. It is in fact a simple case of criminality, a criminal case; incidents happening everyday in India and elsewhere," the envoy said.