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Africans in India targeted in racist attacks

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Tensions are high between locals and African students in the northern Indian city of Greater Noida, east of New Delhi, after the death of an Indian man there last weekend. African students were accused of murdering him and have been subject to violent racist attacks in retribution, reported France24.

On Saturday March 25, an Indian student in Greater Noida (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) died of a heart attack, which the authorities believe was caused by a drug overdose. Locals accused African students living in the area of having deliberately drugged him. Five Nigerians were arrested and detained by Indian police.

Hundreds of African students gathered outside the local police station on Sunday to protest against what they saw as unjustified and discriminatory arrests. The police eventually released the five students on Monday after failing to find proof or witnesses.

This move by the police provoked more anger in the community. A march organised as an homage to the young man quickly turned into an anti-African demonstration. A dozen young African men were beaten up by a group of locals. Videos and photos published on social media show an angry mob attacking black men in the Ansa Plaza shopping centre in Greater Noida — some of them even picking up nearby chairs and hitting the black men lying on the floor with them.

On Tuesday, pictures of injured African students circulated on social media, causing an outcry around the country amongst foreigners and Indians alike.

Several representatives of African student organisations met the town's police chief on Tuesday afternoon, along with a representative from the Nigerian embassy, to try to calm the situation. According to the authorities, seven people have been arrested in connection with the violence towards African students on Monday evening.

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora has urged Nigerians in India to remain calm and be watchful of their surroundings, reported Daily Post (Nigeria).

Her appeal followed multiple distress calls by Nigerian students in India on concerns over their safety as a result of renewed attacks on them.
Dabiri-Erewa said in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday that the renewed Tuesday attacks on Nigerian students’ in India was uncalled for.
While condemning the mob action as unwarranted and deplorable, the SSA noted that the Indian authorities currently had five suspects in custody.

Dabiri-Erewa noted that though the situation was calm at the moment, the Indian government has a responsibility to protect Nigerian students in India going about their normal duties.
She urged the Indian government “to ensure that any alleged suspect should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law”.

She said the Chargé d’affaires in India, Amb. Mrs Queen Worlu has promptly visited the scene of the incident and also visited the three patients in hospital.
Abike discloed that “I have also spoken with Mr Charles Kennedy, President of the Students’ association in Greater Noida where the attacks occurred.

“He said though a Kenyan girl who was working alone in the early hours of today was attacked, more police patrol vehicles have been deployed to all areas.
“He confirmed that the situation is calm and is pleased with the prompt actions of the Nigerian Chargé d’affaires in India and the Indian government so far”.

Two of the victims are two brothers, Precious and Endurance Amalawa and Chukwuma Igboamalu.
Other reports have it that nine Nigerians were attacked, all students of Noida International University in India.

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Nigeria has called in the Indian envoy in the country to register its protest over an attack on four Nigerian students in Greater Noida and sought "diligent prosecution" against the perpetrators, reported Rediff (India).

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olushola Enikanolaiye, sought action by the Indian government at a meeting with Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Nagabushana Reddy in Abuja on Wednesday, state-run News Agency of Nigeria reported.

The Nigerian students were allegedly attacked by people during a candle-light march for a 17-year-old Indian boy, who died of suspected drug overdose last week in Greater Noida.
The boy's parents alleged that the foreigners had kidnapped him and given him drugs which led to his death.
Enikanolaiye said that the call for the prosecution of culprits was necessary to serve as a deterrent to others, the report said.

"We want to see diligent prosecution so that it would serve as a deterrent to those who think they can take laws into their hands and harass students who are going about their studies. That is why we felt we should register our concern to you on this occasion, and to please ask your government to take effective measures that this does not occur again," he said.

He said that the Indian high commissioner was called in to register the Nigerian government's concern over the incident.
He expressed concern that the incident was not the first of its kind as Nigerians had been attacked in the past by Indians.

"It is therefore, a concern to us that Nigerian students in that place were harassed, beaten up and many of them were seriously injured. We think this should not have happened considering the excellent relationship between two of us -- the two countries have things in common and have been great friends," it quoted Enikanolaye as saying.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said the government was taking immediate action and she had spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who has assured her of a fair and impartial investigation into the "unfortunate" incident.

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Two days after the attack on African nationals in Greater Noida, another attack on a young Kenyan woman was reported on Wednesday in the same area. Following the attack, a Nigerian embassy official met the Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Budh Nagar. The incident has sparked tension among foreign nationals living in Greater Noida, reported The Hindu (India).

The woman, identified by police as Maria Burendi (25), alleged that she was beaten up and kicked in the abdomen when she was travelling in a cab on Wednesday. An FIR has been lodged.

The cab driver, however, reportedly told the police that no such attack took place when he dropped the woman. “The statements of the driver and the complainant are contradictory. We have questioned the cab driver. We have recovered cab location from the company. The driver told us that the woman booked a cab at 5.47 a.m. from Delhi police society. He said he did not witness any attack,” Greater Noida Superintendent of police Sujata Singh told The Hindu.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Singh said the incident occurred when the victim was travelling from Delhi to Greater Noida in an Ola cab. “The woman lives in the Alstonia residential society in Greater Noida. A few metres from her residence, the cab was reportedly stopped by goons and the victim slapped.”

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Tags: India, Nigeria, racism
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