Shops of a few Indians living in Congo have been attacked -- possibly in reaction to the murder of a Congolese student in New Delhi – resulting in injuries, the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.
“Our embassy in Congo is in touch with local authorities and, as of now, things have calmed down. India’s relations with Congo go back many years,” the MEA said.
India has promised swift punishment after the student from Congo was fatally attacked last week. Several African missions have asked the government to take steps to ensure the safety of Africans living in India.
Thousands of African nationals study and work in India and routinely deal with rampant racism and discrimination in the country.
The victim in last week’s attack, Masunda Kitada Oliver, was a graduate student who had lived in India for over six years, according to the Congolese embassy in New Delhi. He had hailed an auto rickshaw Friday night when three men insisted they had hired the vehicle. The men beat him up and hit him on the head with a stone , and he died later that night, police said.
Two of the men suspected in the attack have been arrested, while police are searching for the third.
The African Heads of Mission in New Delhi issued a statement Tuesday urging India’s government to address the problems of “racism and Afro-phobia” in the country. They also asked the government to postpone an Africa Day celebration slated for Thursday.
“Given the pervading climate of fear and insecurity in Delhi, the African Heads of Mission are left with little option than to consider recommending to their governments not to send new students to India, unless and until their safety can be guaranteed,” the statement said.
In response, India promised quick punishment. “We will ensure that justice is done and stringent punishment given to those involved in the attack,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
Congo’s deputy foreign minister Antoine Boyamba told UN-backed Radio Okapi that the death of Kitada was a sad event, but called on Congo residents to remain calm.
“The Indian authorities have assured us that they are doing what is necessary,” he said.
Kitada’s father told Radio Okapi that his younger brother will go to India in the coming days to file a complaint.
The attack was the latest to target Africans in India. In February, a Tanzanian woman was beaten and stripped naked by a mob in the southern city of Bangalore after a Sudanese student’s car hit an Indian woman. In September 2014, a video of three African men being beaten inside a New Delhi metro station caused uproar in India, where fair skin is coveted.