New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Hours after union Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned attacks on Africans in the national capital, Delhi Police said on Sunday that five people, including a juvenile, were held for cases of assaults on four Africans but ruled out the crimes being planned or racial.
Police also said they have also started a sensitisation programme in areas where Africans have a major presence.
“We have arrested four people and apprehended a juvenile in conflict with law in connection with the attack on four African nationals. A few more people would be arrested soon,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh.
He said police have registered four separate cases after the four attacks occurred within a radius of one km on Thursday night in Mehrauli area of south Delhi.
“Neither the attacks were racial nor were they planned. These are all isolated incidents. One attack took place for playing music loudly, another for drinking alcohol on way in the night… We had to register the cases on suo motu first information reports (FIRs) as none of the victims came forward to file a complaint,” said the DCP.
Some of the victims, however, said they faced racist slurs while being attacked.
On Thursday night, two calls were made to the Delhi Police control room reporting a brawl in Mehrauli’s Rajpur Khurd area where many Africans reside.
The first call was made at 11 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 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.
He received minor injury on his nose when he “fell on a stone” on the road, police said.
Ishwar Singh said sensitisation programmes has been started at Maidan Garhi and Rajpur Khurd areas, which have over 300 African residents.
Asked if police will continue the sensitisation programme, the DCP said: “I will hold a regular meeting with residents in the area… Regular night patrolling will also be done.”
Earlier in the day, Rajnath Singh condemned the attacks on Africans 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,” he said in a tweet.
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.”
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 Africans reside.
On May 20, Congolese man Masonda Ketada Olivier, 29, was beaten to death by three men after an altercation over hiring of an auto-rickshaw in Vasant Kunj area turned violent.
Meanwhile on late May 25, a 23-year-old Nigerian student was allegedly beaten by an Indian over a parking dispute in Hyderabad.
The incidents of violence against Africans — 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.