A 29-year-old man from Congo was allegedly assaulted and battered to death by three intoxicated men following an argument over hiring an autorickshaw in south Delhi’s Kishangarh near Vasant Kunj on Friday night.
The trio had an argument with the Congolese man, Masonda Ketada Olivier, after both of them insisted on boarding the same autorickshaw. The trio then assaulted Olivier, chased him, and hit him on the head with stones.
Olivier, a French language teacher at a private institute in south Delhi’s South Extension area, lived in a rented accommodation. He has been in the country for the last five years.
The police arrested one of the attackers, Mobin Azad Saifi, eight hours after the crime with the help of CCTV camera footage from the area. The footage showed the three fleeing after attacking Olivier. Saifi’s past criminal record helped investigators identify him while examining the video footage.
The police raided his Kishangarh house and arrested him. The other two accused, Mukesh and Prakash alias Musa, are still at large.
Ishwar Singh, DCP (south), dismissed any racial angle to Olivier’s murder. “We have recorded statements of four eyewitnesses, but at no point did they mentioned about any racial comments on Olivier. The argument between Olivier and the accused started over boarding an autorickshaw and it soon escalated into an ugly fight,” the DCP said.
Olivier’s friends – Sam and Jonathan, who were with him, did not allege any racial angle behind his murder. They, however, said that facing racial comments from locals is a routine affair.
“People (in India) call us hapsi (a racial slang for Africans) or negros but we never take such comments seriously. We have no problem facing such comments. But please don’t kill us for this reason,” Sam said.
Around 11:30pm on Friday night, Olivier and Sam were waiting for an autorickshaw on the Asaf Ali Road. When Sam went to fetch a packet of cigarette, Olivier flagged down an autorickshaw. Around the same time, three inebriated men approached the driver and insisted to travel in the same vehicle.
“This led to an argument and exchange of verbal abuses between Olivier and the three men. When Olivier sat in the vehicle, the three pulled him out and began assaulting him,” a police officer said.
Four passersby rushed to rescue Olivier but they were also assaulted by the three men. Olivier ran inside the lane adjacent to the main road but the trio chased and attacked him again, this time with stones.
“Olivier lay bleeding by the time a passerby called the police control room and he was rushed to AIIMS Trauma Centre where he succumbed to his injuries. He died because of excessive bleeding,” the officer said.
A case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code was registered at the Vasant Kunj police station. “Efforts are on to nab the other two accused,” the officer said.