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India monitoring situation in Kenya: PM

India is closely monitoring the situation in Kenya in the aftermath of the violence there and is in touch with the Kenyan authorities, the PM said.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2008 22:29 IST

India is closely monitoring the situation in Kenya in the aftermath of the violence there and is in touch with the Kenyan authorities and the Indian origin community, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday.

Replying to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's letter regarding the problems faced by the Gujarati community in Kenya, the prime minister reassured him that the External Affairs Ministry has been asked to take immediate action, an official statement said here.

India had Wednesday refuted reports that said Indians were being targeted in the ongoing post-election violence in Kenya.

There were "no reports of any person of Indian origin having been subjected to violence or physically harmed", said Navtej Sarna, spokesman of the ministry of external affairs (MEA).

Kenya has been plunged into chaos and mob fury since presidential election results were declared last week. The re-election of Mwai Kibaki has sparked widespread violence in the country leading to loss of hundreds of lives.

At least 200 people have died in the ongoing violence in Kenya and tens of thousands of people have been rendered homeless.

On Wednesday, India had also cited the Hindu Council of Kenya as saying that there had been no loss of life or injury to any Asian in Kenya. The council had specifically mentioned that reports appearing in the Indian media about Gujaratis being targeted or an Asian being killed are untrue.

On Monday, Narendra Modi wrote to the prime minister urging him to take up with Kenya the issue of safety of Gujaratis residing in that country.

He specifically mentioned the case of 400 Gujaratis who apparently were forced to take shelter in a Swaminarayan temple in the western Kenyan city of Kisumu. Modi also expressed concern over the rampant looting of property belonging to Gujaratis in the violence.

Though Kenyans of Indian origin amount to only about one percent of the country's population, they have significant economic interests, especially in the retail sector.

However, Sarna had said that there were reports of "looting of shops and commercial facilities" belonging to the Indian community.

"It is important to note that the violence is not targeting the Asian community or thousands of Indian origin specifically."

Sarna said all this information is based on reports provided by the Indian High Commission in Nairobi to the ministry.

Indian High Commissioner in Kenya P.S. Randhawa has been "actively watching the situation" in the east African country, Sarna said.

Randhawa has been engaged with the community leaders in various towns like Mombassa and Kisumu.

Sarna said the high commissioner has been talking to people taking shelter in temples and Gurudwaras so that he remains updated about the situation.