The Tuesday’s incident in which two African students were tied up with a rope for nearly an hour and beaten up by the public and the police after they allegedly tried to steal money from a shop has exposed the indifference on part of the educational institutes and the local police to the presence of foreign students. The incident has also shown that such students are also victims of racism from the locals.
The police investigation in the theft case has found that the two arrested students among the three named in the FIR, have been living in Jalandhar even as their visa expired a few months ago and they have not applied for an extension.
The two arrested are Irakarama Aiaier of Rwanda and Sinarinli Alain of Burundi; Ncuti Roger, who fled from the shop, is also from Rwanda. The three were booked under Section 380 of the IPC on the complaint of Jaspal Kaur, owner of the grocery store, Parmar Store, in Jogindernagar area of Rama Mandi in Jalandhar.
Though in the FIR, the arrested Africans have claimed to be students of Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) at Lovely Professional University (LPU), the university authorities denied this.
“They are not our students right now. The two arrested were the BCA-2 students in the university till March last year, but then they stopped coming to the university,” said LPU deputy director Aman Mittal.
“Though we have written to the LPU authorities asking for details of these students, if they were not their students, it’s a serious matter. When a foreign student leaves abruptly, it becomes the duty of the institute concerned to inform the local administration. But it was not done so in this case,” said deputy commissioner of police Naveen Singla, who admitted that a stricter vigil was needed on foreign students studying in the local institutes.
When the visa of a foreign national ends and the person concerned continues to stay overseas, the embassies of the respective countries write to the local administration. “Since the LPU is in Kapurthala district, we will investigate if the local administration was aware of this,” said Singla.
The police have also sent e-mails to the embassies of Burundi and Rwanda to find out their visa details.
The police on Wednesday conducted raids at the paying guest accommodation in Jogindernagar area where the three have been living. A local court sent the two arrested to judicial custody.
Third such incident
This is the third major case involving African students. In April 2012, Yannick Ntibateganya, a Burundi national, was brutally beaten up by nine locals. He died in June this year after remaining in coma for more than two years. In June 2013, police booked 21 African students following a brawl with a Jalandhar-based resident.
Local BJP MLA Manoranjan Kalia said, “I am surprised at the casual way in which the local police have been dealing with the presence of foreign students. Why are the police not maintaining a proper record of their presence in different localities? The educational institutes must keep the local administration updated about the whereabouts of these students.”