Congolese’s death: V.K. Singh meets African diplomatic corps’ dean

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) With African heads of mission demanding strong action from the Indian government in the wake of a Congolese national’s murder here, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh on Wednesday met the dean of the African diplomatic corps and a few representatives of the envoys.

According to sources, during the meeting with Eritrean Ambassador Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, who is dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission, and other diplomats, Singh strongly condemned the criminal act and assured them that the strongest legal action would be taken.

Masonda Ketada Olivier, 29, was beaten to death by three youths around 11.30 p.m. on Friday after a verbal altercation over the hiring of an auto-rickshaw near Kishangarh village in Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi.

Two of the accused have been arrested while the third is on the run.

On Tuesday, Woldemariam in a statement on behalf of all the African heads of mission, sought strong action by the Indian government against the perpetrators of the murderous attack on Olivier.

The African envoys also said they would stay away from this year’s Africa Day celebrations being organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on May 26.

The sources said on Wednesday that Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najib Jung and Delhi Police chief Alok Kumar Verma have been spoken to and they were pursuing the matter.

Stating that Singh assured the heads of African missions of the Indian government’s full support, the sources said Singh would also do an outreach event with African students along with embassies concerned to reassure them of their safety.

“It was also decided that the minister of state would meet the African heads of mission every three months,” they said.

“On the issue of the ICCR’s Africa Day event, Singh impressed upon the African heads of mission the need to continue the tradition but also said that we would be guided by the African heads of mission in the matter.”

While the heads of mission were supposed to revert back to the Indian government on this, it was also decided that Amar Sinha, secretary (economic relations) in the ministry of external affairs, who handles relations with Africa, would attend the Africa Day celebrations being organised by the African missions here on Wednesday evening.



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