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Attacks on Africans not racial or premeditated: Sushma Swaraj

cities Updated: Jul 21, 2016 22:56 IST
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

The attacks on Africans in Delhi and outside were “spontaneous criminal attacks by anti-social elements” and not racial or premeditated acts against a community, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday.

Swaraj was replying to Shiv Sena MP Rajkumar Dhoot’s question in the Rajya Sabha about the recent attacks, including the killing of Congo national Masonga Kitanda Olivier in May.

To ensure the safety of Africans and avoid a rerun of such cases, the government was trying to accommodate African students studying in India on scholarships in campus hostels, the foreign affairs minister said.

She said such attacks had taken place outside campuses.

Swaraj said minister of state for external affairs V K Singh will hold meetings with the African people in all the big metro cities.

A monitoring mechanism has been established under the states division of the ministry to get feedback on previous cases in coordination with the state governments.

“A sensitisation campaign is being carried out. I have written to seven states that have more presence of Africans to do a sensitisation on the pattern of the one done in Delhi to avoid recurrence of such incidents,” the minister said.

The government provides scholarships to African students to study in India and will work to provide them accommodation within campuses, she said.

Swaraj said the African nations that had expressed apprehension over the rising attacks “were satisfied” with the responses and steps taken by the government.

“They came and attended the African summit and went back satisfied. The students did not hold any protest which they initially proposed at Jantar Mantar in Delhi,” she said.

Swaraj informed the Upper House that after the killing of a Congo national in Delhi in May, there were a few incidents of attacks against Indians in Kinshasa in which some people sustained minor injuries.

The Indian Embassy in Kinshasa had raised the issue with the ministry of foreign affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo and sought police protection for Indians there. “An advisory was issued to all Indians, assuring them of all assistance,” the minister said.

Swaraj said engagement with African nations had been more than ever before in the past. “We want more engagement with Africa and deeper economic ties with them,” she said.