A high-level team from New Delhi, including the Tanzanian high commissioner to India, will leave for Bengaluru on Friday in connection with the assault on a Tanzanian woman in the Karnataka capital.
The decision to send the team was taken at a high-level meeting convened by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Thursday that was attended by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha and other senior officials of the ministry.
“A team is going to Bengaluru which includes the high commissioner of Tanzania, who is also the dean of the African diplomatic corps,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said at a media briefing here after the high-level meeting.
“The team also includes the joint secretary (states), director (east and southern Africa) in the ministry of external affairs and the regional director of ICCR (Indian Council of Cultural Relations), which liaises with the students who come here on ICCR scholarships,” he said.
Five people suspected of assaulting the Tanzanian woman student were arrested early on Thursday, Bengalueu Police Commissioner N.S. Megharik said.
“We have arrested the five accused after interrogating them on Wednesday night under detention in the case registered on the victim’s statement in a road rage incident,” Megharik said.
The commissioner, however, did not disclose names and ages of the five accused.
In a case of mistaken identity, a mob assaulted the victim suspecting her to be a friend of a Sudanese student, Mohammad Ahad, whose car ran over a woman pedestrian (Shabana Taz) injuring her fatally while driving drunk on Sunday night.
“We condemn this unequivocally,” Swarup said at the media briefing.
“The external affairs minister, in her tweets on Wednesday , has also said that we are deeply pained over the shameful incident,” he said.
He said Sushma Swaraj immediately spoke to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and sought an official report.
Secretary Sinha also spoke to Tanazanian High Commissioner John W.H. Kijazi and expressed regret at the incident.
“Our Joint Secretary (States), Partha Satpathy, who happened to be in Bengaluru, liaised immediately with the state and local authorities,” Swarup said.
He also said that a report has been received from Bengaluru Police Commissioner Megharik.
“The commissioner has assured us that stringent measures are being taken to prevent occurrence of such incidents in the future,” the spokesman said, adding that “our African friends” have been assured that necessary legal action would be taken and stringent punishment would be given to those involved in the incident and that all steps would be taken for the safety and security of African students in India.
There are around 5,000 African students in India.
As for the team gong to Bengaluru on Friday, Swarup said that “we will extend full cooperation of the state and central governments to the investigation of this case”.
“The ministry and the state government will also be reaching out to African students in the state to reassure them that their security and well-being is our primary concern,” he added.