Assault on Africans: Home minister steps in

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday condemned the reported attacks on African nationals in the national capital and told the city police to step up patrolling in neighbourhoods that have significant African populations.

“Instructed CP (commissioner of police) Delhi to take strict action against the attackers and increase police patrolling in these areas to ensure security of everyone,” Rajnath Singh posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

In another tweet, he said: “Spoke to CP Delhi regarding the incident of physical assault against certain African nationals in New Delhi. Such incidents are condemnable.”

At least four African nationals were attacked in four separate incidents on Thursday night here, all within a radius of one km, after which Delhi Police registered cases of assault.

None of the victims, however, came forward to file a complaint and police had to register suo motu first information reports (FIRs), officials said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Rajnath Singh and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung assured her on Saturday that the culprits would be arrested soon and a sensitisation campaign would be launched in areas where many African nationals reside.

On May 20, Congolese national Masonda Ketada Olivier, 29, was beaten to death by three men after an altercation over hiring of an auto-rickshaw in Vasant Kunj area here turned violent.

On the night of May 25, a 23-year-old Nigerian student was allegedly beaten by an Indian over a parking dispute in Hyderabad, prompting Swaraj to seek a report from the Telangana government.

The incidents of violence against African nationals — with suggestions that these attacks may have been “racial” in nature — led to protests by African heads of mission and a major effort by the government to assuage their concerns.

Delhi Police said the attacks were “not racial” in nature. However, some of the victims said they faced racist slurs while being attacked.

Each of the four incidents reported on Thursday night happened in the Mehrauli area where about 300 African nationals live.

Only one African national, named Lockey, received minor injury on his nose when he “fell on a stone” on the road, the police said.

“These are all isolated incidents and not planned attacks. There was no element of racism in the attacks. It’s not as if there’s a public movement against African nationals,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Ishwar Singh told IANS.

“Had it been planned, the victims would have received major injuries,” he added.

On Thursday night, two calls were made to the Delhi Police control room reporting a brawl in Mehrauli’s Rajpur Khurd area where many African nationals reside.

The first call was made at 11.00 p.m. by a person named Kenneth following a minor brawl with local residents when he was going in his car to a chemist, a police official said.

The second call came from Lockey, a Nigerian, who, according to the police, was allegedly assaulted after he intervened to save the driver of the auto-rickshaw in which he was travelling from being beaten by a car driver following an argument.

The police claimed that the suspects were identified and would be arrested soon.



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