They were not surprised seeing reporters thronging the congested Khirki Extension for their comments on the alleged racial attack on Africans reported from Greater Noida on Monday. In fact they were well prepared, to not talk.
“Why do you remember us only when something like this makes headlines? We are nothing more that ‘black monkeys’ for Indians and we know it now. We face this every day. Will giving a comment on what happened in Greater Noida, change anything? You will forget us tomorrow, just like you did after the midnight crackdown by one of your ministers reported in 2015,” said an angry resident who hails from Nigeria.
Khirki Extension and adjoining Hauz Rani houses over 200 residents, mostly students who have moved in recently. It is hard to convince them to talk but when they do, they narrate a series of incidents about how they are mistreated.
“I do not feel safe in India at all. I had to leave my previous house as a local hit me with a hockey as he felt I do not deserve to stay in that building. He asked me how I got that house. I just ran away leaving my house. The kids here throw stones at us when we walk and laugh. They intentionally splash water at us from puddles while walking and then turn around and laugh instead of saying sorry,” another resident said. “Why would you be so discourteous? Just because we are black?” he adds.
A student who recently came to India from Nigeria describes Indian people as ‘primitive’.
“I am sorry I am using that word but I really believe that they are the most primitive people. They boast about their values but since I have come here, I have not met a single person who was welcoming. I was accused of being a drug peddler. A man barged inside my house and asked me to show him my passport. How do I feel secure in an environment where I am being constantly judged for my colour? If we go to the police to complain, they send us back,” he said.
“I guess Indians have never stepped out of their country. I do not think they travel as much, which is why they do not understand, what it feels like to be treated badly in a foreign country,” he said.