Days after a Congolese national Masunda Kitada Oliver was beaten to death in Delhi's Vasant Kunj area, the African diplomatic community has declared they may skip the Centre's Africa Day's celebrations slated for Thursday.
The 'Group of African Heads of Mission' has condemned the act and urged the Indian government to take initiatives to sensitise people about racism and Afro-phobia in India. They even called upon the Indian opinion leaders to amend and break stereotypes and prejudices against Africans.
“Given the pervading climate of fear and insecurity in Delhi, the African Heads of Mission are left with little option than to consider recommending to their governments not to send new students to India, unless and until their safety can be guaranteed,” a statement from Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, Ambassador of Eritrea and Dean of the group, has said, reports The Hindu.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations has planned a programme on May 26 in New Delhi.
Following the boycott threat, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj reached out to them and sent out a series of tweets:
I have asked my colleague Gen V.K.Singh to meet the heads of missions of African countries in Delhi and assure them /2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
of Indian Government's commitment to the safety and security of African nationals in India./2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
General V.K.Singh will also hold meetings with African students in metro cities to assure them of their safety and security.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
We will request State Governments to depute Commissioners of Police in all such meetings.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
When I came to know about the unfortunate killing of a Congo national in Delhi, we directed stringent action against the culprits.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
I would like to assure African students in India that this an unfortunate and painful incident involving local goons.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
She also announced a nationwide sensitisation programme
We will also launch a sensitization program to reiterate that such incidents against foreign nationals embarrass the country.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 25, 2016
Oliver, 29, was beaten to death by three youths around 1130 pm.on Friday, following a verbal altercation over the hiring of an auto-rickshaw. The police has so far arrested Mobin Azad Saifi, 23, who was booked for molestation and theft in the past.
Now, it seems the Indian government is trying its best to resolve the issue and save the souring diplomatic relations between the nations. Today, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup admitted to the racial undertone behind the crime and also requested the Delhi Lt Governer that the case be tried by a fast track court, for which the latter agreed, reports ANI.
EAM requested Delhi LG that this case is tried by a fast track court, LG assured it'll be done: Vikas Swarup on death of an African student— ANI (@ANI_news) May 25, 2016
In an interview with ScoopWhoop, Masunda's friend Sam had expressed his anger and agony at the crime and exclaimed,"While I cried for help, nobody came to our rescue. I still don't have any clue why was he killed so brutally. "
The Africa Day is worldwide observed today. The PMO office had wished the day to the entire African community in the morning