ICCR’s Africa Day celebrations finally on

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Africa Day event being organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) here that came under cloud following the murder of a Congolese man in the national capital, will finally be held on Thursday as scheduled.

It was reliably learnt on Wednesday that the ICCR has received the green signal from the authorities concerned to go ahead with the event.

Masonda Ketada Oliver, 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 in south Delhi.

Two of the accused have been arrested while the third is on the run, according to Delhi Police.

On Tuesday, a meeting of all African heads of mission sought strong action by the Indian governmenton the killing and said that the African envoys would stay away from the ICCR’s Africa Day event.

The stand at the meeting was spelt out in a statement by Eritrean Ambassador Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, who is also dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission in the capital.

Woldemariam said the envoys requested that the event be postponed, and that the African nations also decided not to participate in the celebrations, except for a cultural troupe from Lesotho.

“This is because the African community in India, including students, are in a state of mourning in memory of the slain African students in the last few years, including Oliver,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh, in a meeting with Woldemariam and a few other African envoys, assured them of the safety and security of African nationals in India. He also impressed upon them the need to continue with the tradition of the Africa Day celebrations.

The Day commemorates the establishment of the African Union in 2001 which replaced the Organisation of African Unity established on May 25, 1963.

–IANS

ab/vt

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