In Chattarpur’s Rajpur Khurd village, no one remembers when the Africans first arrived. Today, this village has become one of the most preferred localities for Africans, especially from Nigeria.
African youths in their western clothes and braided hair are in stark contrast to elderly villagers smoking hookah outside their bungalows in the narrow lanes of this rural Delhi village.
In this village, around 5km from Qutab Minar, where African youths clashed with locals on Thursday night, over 200 Africans have rented rooms.
There is a salon run by a Nigerian national, Jason. He opened it a year ago, when more and more African youths complained of Indian barbers not being able to cut their hair.
Jason’s salon is the one place where Nigerian youths gather to discuss life. Jason says, “Back home, Indians are respected. Living here for us is a nightmare. At almost every shop, we are made fun of. Shopkeepers refuse to sell everyday items to us, pass racist remarks.”
Another youth, Xenon Tiagio, said African women were insulted daily. “They are often called prostitutes. People talk behind our back. They comment on the colour of our skin.”
Locals say Africans stay there because accommodation is cheap. Maidangarhi, the village adjoining Rajpur Khurd, is also preferred by the Nigerians.
Locals say there is a trust deficit with the Africans. “Even if they have a flat tyre, they blame it on us. We have better things to do than puncture their cars. They wear strange clothes and we end up staring at them. But that is not a crime,” a village residents said.
Local resident, Chande Ram, said because of the language barrier they quarrel over autorickshaws everyday.