May 25, 2016
NEW DELHI: India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has said that India
is committed to ensuring the safety and security of African nationals in India.
"I have asked my colleague Gen VK Singh to meet the heads of missions of
African countries in Delhi and assure them of Indian Government's commitment to
the safety and security of African nationals in India," she tweeted on Wednesday.
Sushma Swaraj was reacting to the move of the African diplomats in New Delhi
to boycott Inddia's Africa Day celebrations scheduled for Thursday. The protest by
the African envoys comes in the wake of the killing of a Congolese national,
Masonda Ketanda Olivier, in a Delhi mob violence last week. The diplomats allege
increasing attacks on African students in India, the African Group of Heads of
Mission has said in a statement. They have also reportedly sought postponement of the Indian celebrations in view of the mourning for the Congolese.
Sushma further stated that the Minister of State for External Affairs would also
hold meetings with the African students in metro cities and assure them of safety
"We will request State Governments to depute Commissioners of Police in all such
meetings. We will also launch a sensitization programme to reiterate that such
incidents against foreign nationals embarrass the country," she added.
The diplomats have also stated that they might advise their respective
Governments “not to send new students to India” because of “stereotypes and
racial prejudice against Africans in India," it was reported.
“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 by Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, Ambassador of
Eritrea, said, according to the reports.
Earlier, some of the African diplomats had met officials of the Ministry of External
Affairs and asked for "concrete steps to guarantee the safety and security of
Africans” in the country.
Various cultural events are scheduled on India-held Africa Day celebrations in
Delhi on Thursday. The day, organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations
(ICCR), marks the setting up of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May
Olivier, 23, was on his was home when he got into an argument with a group of
people. The argument later led to a fight after which the African youth was chased
and beaten with sticks and stones. He later died. The Delhi Police have since
detained one person in connection with the murder.