African Envoys call March 28 attack on Nigerian students xenophobic

While condemning the attack, the envoys called for an independent investigation of the attack by human right organisations

Hardnews Bureau Delhi 

What can only be termed as an embarrassment for the Indian government, the African Group Head of Missions in Delhi called for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council into the recent attacks on four Nigerian students in Greater Noida and comprehensively report to the African Union Council. The envoys termed the attacks as “racially charged and xenophobic” in nature.

Condemning the attacks, the group expressed its displeasure with the manner the government of India has been moving forward with the investigation of the case. It said, “These reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities.”

During a special meeting that was held to discuss the issue, the envoys said that sufficient and visible deterring measures were not used by the Indian authorities. In a statement issued by the group, it further said that they expected strong condemnation from the highest political level, both national and local.

Four Nigerian students were beaten up and severely injured by a mob in Greater Noida on the pretext of allegedly peddling drugs to teens. A crowd that had gathered in the area for a peaceful protest turned violent and attacked the four students, leaving them half dead. The attack unfolded after the death of a 17-year-old schoolboy from alleged over consumption of drugs. Residents in the area alleged that drugs were sold by Africans living in the vicinity. Following the registration of a case, five people of Nigerian origin were arrested and were released after the police failed to link them to the crime.

After the video of a mob attacking the students went viral on social networking websites, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that she had spoken to newly appointed UP CM Yogi Adityanath about the incident and sought a report. The MEA however, refrained from calling it a racial attack and chose to wait for a full investigation report.

The police has reportedly booked 60 people on charges of rioting as seen in the video attacking and dragging a Nigerian student inside a mall in the area.

Endurance Amarawa and Precious Amarawa, the two brothers who were attacked by scores of people, are pursuing their higher studies from Noida International University (NIU). While Endurance is a first year student of BA-LLB, Precious is studying Political Science from NIU.  Talking to Vanguard the two brothers said, “On Sunday evening, we were shopping in Ansal Plaza when suddenly a mob attacked us viciously. When we tried to enter a showroom to save ourselves, the staff refused to let us inside. They kept beating us and hurling abuses at us.”

To maintain peace in the area, additional police force were called in from other police stations in Kasna, Knowledge Park and Surajpur which has a big density of African nationals.

The incident which made ripples internationally shook the diplomatic community as the Nigerian government summoned the Indian ambassador over the incident. Greater Noida and the adjoining areas are home to a sizeable population of African origin, many of whom are in the country to pursue higher education.