African students under attack? Not at all, believes V.K. Singh

India, Africa, African students, women, congo, safety, Nigerian

New Delhi, May 29, 2016: India is serious about the safety of the African students and nationals who come to India for studies and work. After the death of a Congo national Masunda Oliver in a road rage case, the attack on a Nigerian student had come to light yesterday prompting Indian government to come out fire-fighting on this front.

Today MoS V.K. Singh held meetings with village elders in the Chattarpur where the African community lives in big numbers but is now too scared. Delhi government has also arrested 5 people in the connecting cases of violence.

The Congo national Masunda Oliver, 23, was a graduate student who had come to India in search of a better life but a few days back he was a victim of road-rage when he ran into an argument over Indian men over hiring an auto. The men beat him and then hit him with a stone killing him.

The Indian government was left red-faced when retaliation against Indians happened in Congo over the killings where miscreants attacked the Indians and their properties allegedly over this issue. Meanwhile, India has offered to assist Oliver’s family to collect his remains at its expense.

But general V.K. Singh has questioned media’s role over the issue in scathing words and asked people to question its motives in blowing up ‘minor’ scuffles as attacks.

Earlier, there was a report that a Nigerian student was a victim of violence in Hyderabad.

This prompted Sushma Swaraj to speak to the Chief Minister and look into the matter. She in any case has been in the forefront to defuse the fear of African students in the country. Here are her top quotes from her Twitter handle:

Sushma Swaraj has been on the forefront of the fire-fighting from the day one.

V.K. Singh may not agree, but Sushma Swaraj herself has pointed this out that African students will get all the help needed in India and was the one to highlight the case herself. She had come to the rescue as the angry African envoys had said that they would not be able ‘to attend’ the Africa Day event due to the recent demise of Masunda Oliver.

India has always prized its association with Africa but it is also true that African students often complaint of prejudice against them as locals fear that they are unruly and into drug trade and prostitution. This misconception often acts against them and the barrier of language adds to their woes.

This fear can be best understood with the case when the AAP leader Advocate Somnath Bharti had raided a place in Delhi at the midnight, in January 2014, along with a crowd after which 9 African women had said that they were manhandled and abused. The African women said that they were so scared at the the time of the raid that they thought that they would get killed and have remained apprehensive about their security ever since.

Bharti had then said that he acted as he came to know that a sex and drug racket was going on in the locality.

In short, it is fear here and fear there and only sensitization can help both the sides.

But what is most important is to see what steps will Indian government take to help the African students and community in India.