Congolese man’s murder: Govt assures victim’s kin of speedy trial

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 30, 2016 11:17 IST
In this file photo, police officers can be seen investigating the murder of a 23-year-old African national in Vasant Kunj. (ANI Photo)

India on Monday assured the family of the Congolese national, who was killed in a brawl in New Delhi on May 20, of a speedy trial in the case and prosecution of all those responsible for the crime as per law. This was conveyed by a senior official of External Affairs Ministry (MEA) who met the family members of Masonda Ketada Oliver at the airport on their arrival in New Delhi.

Read: Congolese man’s murder: Govt faces tough questions from African diplomats

He also informed them that the government of India will bear all expenses related to dispatch of mortal remains of Oliver, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

He said that the family members thanked the Indian government for its assistance.

Read: Don’t party and drink in public, Delhi cops tell African nationals

They were told that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has instructed speedy trial in the case.

Congo’s Masonda Ketada Oliver, 29, was beaten to death by three men around 11.30pm on Friday after an altercation over hiring an auto-rickshaw near Kishangarh village in Vasant Kunj area in south Delhi.

“The Group of African Heads of Mission have met and deliberated extensively on this latest incidence in the series of attacks to which members of the African community have been subjected to in the last several years,” a statement by Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, ambassador of Eritrea and the dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission, said late Tuesday night.

Read: Minor scuffle blown up by media: VK Singh on attack on African nationals

In his statement, Woldemariam said: “Accordingly, the Indian government is strongly enjoined to take urgent steps to guarantee the safety of Africans in India including appropriate programmes of public awareness that will address the problems of racism and Afro-phobia in India.”

He also called upon the media, civil society, think-tanks, research institutions, parliamentarians, politicians and community leaders to play major roles in addressing the stereotypes and prejudices against Africans.

Read: Attack on Africans in Delhi: Cops arrest 4, detain 4 amid growing pressure

As for the Africa Day celebrations being organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on May 26 in Delhi, Woldemariam said that the African group has requested that the event be postponed.

“They have also decided not to participate in the celebrations, except the cultural troupe from the Kingdom of Lesotho,” the statement said.

Woldemariam’s statement said Oliver and his friend Samuel had gone to meet another friend and on the way back Oliver flagged an auto-rickshaw which stopped a few metres away.

However, as he tried to board the vehicle, three Indian men standing nearby jumped on to it. An argument ensued following which Oliver was thrashed.

“They pushed Oliver to the ground and kicked him in the face and abdomen repeatedly,” the statement said. “One of the Indians picked up a large stone from the roadside and hit Oliver on the head.”

According to the statement, a passer-by who stopped to help the Congolese was also beaten up and the attackers fled the scene when they saw that Oliver was unconscious.

Oliver was rushed to a private hospital from where he was referred to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre but he died on the way.

Woldemariam said the African heads of missions have noted with deep concern that “several attacks and harassment of Africans have gone unnoticed without diligent prosecution and conviction of perpetrators”

This is not the first time India is in the international news for alleged racially motivated attacks on Africans. In January, a mob in Bengaluru allegedly dragged a Tanzanian woman out of a car and stripped her. Last year, a mob in Delhi’s busy Rajiv Chowk metro station allegedly attacked three African students.

With inputs from Agencies

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