Seeking to defuse tension at Rajpur Khurd village where Africans were allegedly attacked by some local residents, the police on Sunday reached out to both sides and told them to respect the law.
Senior police officers met representatives of the Resident Welfare Associations and Africans separately. The local residents were told not to take the law into their hands. The African natives were told not to play loud music at night and not drink in public places.
“During the investigation, we found that Africans playing loud music at night led to the clash with the residents of Chhatarpur, Maidan Garhi and Rajpur Khurd villages. The other trigger was Africans drinking in public places.
“To ensure that such incidents do not occur again, we met Africans staying in the area and the locals. Both sides agreed to maintain peace in the area,” said Ishwar Singh, DCP, south. “We wish to clarify that these were separate incidents. They were scuffles and not racial attacks,” he said.
The five men arrested for allegedly attacking Africans in four separate incidents told the police they had asked the Nigerian nationals not to drink and play loud music at night. But they did not listen to them, they said.
On the attack on one of the Africans, Kenneth, they said they had a scuffle with him as he refused to reverse his car to make way for them. They claimed they were taking their relative, who was seriously ill, to the hospital.
“The men said that Kenneth was playing loud music in his car and when they asked him to reverse, he refused. They said when they asked him to turn down the volume, he abused them. They confessed that this enraged them and a scuffle ensued between both parties. The men claimed even Kenneth had hit them,” said an investigator.
Kenneth, a musician, alleged his car was stopped by an armed mob. He was dragged outside and hit with bats. He alleged the mob even smashed his windshield.
“I was inside the car with my four-month-old daughter sleeping in my arms. Why would Kenneth play loud music and drink and drive? These men cornered us and smashed my car. They pulled Kenneth out and hit him. He somehow escaped, saving us from the goons. They were armed, but we had nothing to protect ourselves,” said Kenneth’s wife, Kate.
The police have now accessed the CCTV footage of the area to get evidence that would help establish the sequence of events. “We have two versions of the episodes and we are verifying both. The investigation is on and more arrests are likely. We have tried to maintain peace and sensitise locals by talking to both parties,” a senior police officer said.