India said Monday it was committed to ensuring the safety of all foreign nationals, terming Africans its valued partners.
New Delhi: In a fierce attack on the Indian government, the heads of African missions here accused it of failing to take any “known, sufficient and visible” deterrent action against what they called “xenophobic and racial” attacks on Nigerian students in UP’s Greater Noida near Delhi.
An upset India said hours later that it was “unfortunate” that a criminal act has been termed “xenophobic and racial” despite the ongoing probe.
The heads of the mission said that these “reprehensible events” were “not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities”.
The move has come as a severe diplomatic setback to New Delhi, which had conducted a successful outreach to the African continent in the form of the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) here towards the end of 2015.
But the diplomacy appears to have given way to bristling anger among African countries after four Nigerian students were beaten up by a group of residents in Greater Noida a week ago following the death of a local teenager from a suspected drug overdose. Violence escalated the next day when two Nigerian brothers were attacked by a mob inside a shopping mall.
In a strongly-worded statement, the envoys, who recently held a “special” meeting on March 31 on the incidents, also said they “agreed to take further actions including a call for an independent investigation by the UN’s Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the African Union Commission”. There are missions of more than 50 African countries accredited to India.
India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA) had condemned the attacks last week and said, “…such criminal acts are completely unacceptable and we condemn them… the government remains committed to ensuring safety and security of every foreigner, but of course in this particular instance, the Nigerians.”
The MEA had said, “Local authorities have taken very effective actions… they have launched investigations and certain people have been arrested. A large number of people are under close watch. District authorities have had meetings with the local welfare association as well as the students who represent the Nigerian community there… we will continue to take action against all those guilty and they will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.”