Karnataka assures safety of Africans living in Bengaluru

Bengaluru, Feb 5 (IANS) The Karnataka government on Friday assured Africans, especially students, living in the city of their safety following a brutal assault on a Tanzanian woman by a mob in the suburbs last week.

“We assure all Africans living here of their safety. We will not allow repeat of such an unfortunate incident again,” Home Minister G. Parameshwara told reporters after briefing visiting Tanzanian High Commissioner John W.H. Kijazi on action taken against the culprits who assaulted and molested the 21-year-old victim on Sunday night in a case of mistaken identity.

The minister and senior police officers also made the assurance to Kijazi and the ministry of external affairs (MEA) team who flew into the city for taking stock of the situation arising out of the shocking incident.

“We have also submitted an inquiry report to Kijazi and the MEA team detailing the sequence of events leading to the assault, arrest of nine accused and suspension of three policemen for failing to handle the situation and help the victim,” said Parameshwara.

Appreciating the action of the central and state governments in bringing the situation under control and ensuring the safety of Africans in the city, Kijazi advised African students not to misbehave with the local citizens and abide by the law of the land.

“Our students, those who have been victimised have met the highest level of leadership in this state and made their position clear for protection. We are convinced that they will get back their protection with the support of the government of Karnataka,” Kijazi told reporters after an hour-long meeting.

Four more accused were taken into custody on Thursday night, 12 hours after five suspects were arrested early Thursday for being part of the mob and allegedly assaulting the victim and her Tanzanian male friend.

“An inspector (Praveen Babu) and two constables (Manjunath and Rajshekar) have been suspended for dereliction of duty – Babu for not following up the case a day after the incident and the constables for not protecting the victim from the mob attack despite being present at the spot,” city Police Commissioner N.S. Megharikh told reporters earlier in the day.

An angry mob had assaulted the 21-year-old victim, suspecting her to be a friend of a drunk Sudanese student, Mohammad Ahad Ismail, 20, whose car ran over woman pedestrian Shabana Taz, 35 fatally on Sunday night and injuring her husband K. Sanaullah.

The Sudanese national, a MBA college student, was arrested for Shabana’s death and drunken driving after police came and rescued him from a mob.

Outraged by Shabana’s death in the mishap by a Sudanese, another violent mob mistakenly targetted the victim and burnt the car in which she was with three male friends, assuming her to be Ismail’s friend.

In her statement, the victim denied being stripped or paraded naked but admitted that she was assaulted and molested by the mob when her top (T-shirt) got torn off in the scuffle.

When the victim’s Tanzanian friend (Junail Ibrahim who was at the wheel) tried to stop the angry mob from assaulting her, he was also thrashed.

About 12,000 foreign students from various countries are studying in colleges across the city.

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