Congolese’s murder: Move on for daily hearing of case

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The government is trying to ensure that the case of the Congolese man who was murdered in the national capital is heard on a daily basis for a fast conclusion, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said on Thursday even as the dean of the African diplomatic corps said that he was happy with the action taken by the Indian government.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najib Jung “has assured us that he is going to press for daily hearing so that we can finish this case as fast as possible”, Singh said while addressing the media here at Africa Day celebrations organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

“So, the commitment of the government of India is that we do not look at these incidents as something which can be forgotten. We want to look at this incident as an incident that needs to be sternly taken note of and acted on,” he said.

Masonda Ketada Olivier, 29, was beaten to death by three youths around 11.30 p.m. on May 20 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.

Oliver had come to India on a student visa and had recently got himself a job as a teacher.

The heads of the missions of African countries here met on Tuesday in this connection and sought strong action on the part of the Indian government against the perpetrators of the attack.

On Wednesday, Singh met a group of African diplomats led by Eritrean Ambassador Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, who is also the dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission here.

“See, what we said very clearly is that the government of India condemns this heinous crime,” Singh told the media on Thursday.

“It was a crime, it is not premeditated, it is not racial, it has got nothing to do with all those things,” he said.

He said that he assured the African diplomats that based on the external affairs ministry’s immediate action of calling up the Delhi Police after hearing of the incident, two of the accused were arrested while one was on the run.

“I am quite sure and that is what the police assure us that they would be able to nab him (the third accused) soon,” the minister said.

Singh said that some passers-by did come to to help Oliver but they too got injured.

“There are a large number of these (African) students who have risen in the ranks in their own countries and some are presidents today and we value that kind of a relationship.”

The minister said that with the help of the missions, the administration would meet members of the African community and “assure them that their safety is our concern”.

As for reports about Indians being attacked in Congo in retaliation for the incident, Singh said that the Indian community has been told they needed to be careful.

On being asked about his reaction to the Indian government’s action, Woldemariam, who was also present, said that “we are happy with the government of India”.

“This incident can happen anywhere but the thing is that we have to take action immediately,” he said

Earlier, while inaugurating a cultural function here as part of the Africa Day celebrations, Singh said that the murder of Oliver which happened in a fit of anger has shocked everybody.

“We express our solidarity with the entire African community and the family of the young student, Oliver,” he said.

He then called for a minute’s silence before the commencement of the function.



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