Envoys say India didn’t do enough to stop racial attacks, MEA calls it unfortunate
India’s external affairs ministry said it was “unfortunate” that a criminal act had been described as racial, and that the government is committed to the security of all foreign nationals, including Africans.india Updated: Apr 03, 2017 23:00 IST
India didn’t do enough to stop “xenophobic and racial” attacks on Africans in Greater Noida last month, a group of African envoys has said in the first official reaction to the assaults that triggered nationwide condemnation.
In a late night reaction on Monday, the external affairs ministry said it was “unfortunate” that a criminal act had been described as racial. The ministry added that the government is committed to the security of all foreign nationals, including Africans.
A statement by the heads of African missions dated March 31 sought a strong condemnation of the attacks at the highest level in India, legal action against perpetrators and an independent investigation by human rights bodies.
The document said the “accumulated attacks against Africans” were “xenophobic and racial in nature”.
“The Heads of African Missions…reviewed the previous incidents that have taken place in the past and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the government of India,” the statement said.
Referring to the recent attacks in Greater Noida, the African envoys said that “these reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, weren’t sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities”.
Responding to the African envoys, the external affairs ministry said it was “unfortunate that a criminal act triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances has been termed as xenophobic and racial”. The investigation into the Indian teenager’s death and subsequent incidents is ongoing.
The government condemned the “unacceptable” attack on some Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had made a detailed statement in Parliament.
Authorities in Uttar Pradesh had arrested some suspects and taken steps to strengthen the security of Nigerian nationals. The external affairs ministry noted a report of an assault on a Kenyan national was withdrawn and the concerned national, whose tourist visa had expired, was returning to Kenya.
Enraged local residents in Greater Noida thrashed several Africans in a burst of fury following the death of a 17-year-old boy of a suspected drug overdose last month. Residents blamed the Africans of providing drugs to the teenager.
A video of the assault of an African man went viral on social media and sparked widespread outrage. Despite the government’s assertion that it has enforced strict security, some Africans have reported feeling insecure and threatened.