NEW DELHI: Even as the government reached out to African countries in the wake of the murder of a Congolese youth here, an African envoy on Thursday said ideas of brotherhood and friendship (between India and Africa) will remain “hollow” if Africans don’t feel safe in India.
Participating in a panel discussion on Indo-African relations, Nigerian ambassador to India, Sola Enikanolaiye, raised “very serious concerns” on the safety of African students and pitched for timely response from police.
“Racism against black Africans in India is a major concern. Ugly incidents like what we consider barbaric attacks on Africans, murder in cold blood have met with outrage. Recent incidents in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi last week and several such incidents in the last three years, counting Goa, has given cause for a very serious concern. The authorities need to take a more proactive step for speedy justice and take concrete action to prosecute and ensure that those responsible are punished,” Enikanolaiye said.
Enikanolaiye was among 30 African envoys, including those from Rwanda, Egypt, Somalia, Ghana, Malawi and Congo who participated in the annual Africa Day celebrations here. “Our commitment therefore to partnership, brotherhood, friendship and solidarity will continue to remain hollow ideas as along as Africans don’t feel safe in India,” he said.
The ambassador also raised a question. “Do black Africans have any great future in the country, beyond education, exchange of skills. Will it not be best for them to acquire these skills and move on to other countries? I regret I do not have an answer to this,” he said. Minister of state VK Singh said such incidents would not be repeated and he was deeply saddened by the murder of the Congolese student and condemned it.