Not right to connect attacks on African nationals with racism: Sushma Swaraj

Sushma-Swaraj

New Delhi, April 5: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday addressed Lok Sabha on the issue of attack on 4 African nationals in Noida and said it wasn’t right to link the case with racism before the probe was over.

“Not right to connect with racism before probe ends. I said this in context of attacks in the United States too,” said Swaraj in the Lower House.

Just a few days before, the Heads of Missions of African countries in India slammed physical attacks on their compatriots as “xenophobic and racial” in nature, saying the government in New Delhi took no “known, sufficient and visible” deterrent action despite such incidents happening in the past.

You can’t say our steps are inadequate. We are committed to ensuring security of all foreigners in India,” she said while addressing the concerns raised over the safety of foreigners in the country.

“We are constantly working for security of African nationals. We told him calling us ‘xenophobic’ and then saying you will go to Human Rights Council was not right. V.K. Singh has spoken to them,” she added.

Terming this as “unfortunate, painful and surprising”, Swaraj said she was disappointed with what the African envoys had remarked.

I am surprised and disappointed with what the Dean said, hence I called him today. We told him that if you weren’t satisfied, you should’ve asked for meeting with the Prime Minister,” she said.

Swaraj was referring to the incident where four Nigerian students were brutally assaulted after a protest over the death of a 17-year-old spilled over to Ansal Plaza mall in Greater Noida. The boy died of suspected drug overdose and his family alleged that their Nigerian neighbours had kidnapped and murdered him.

In a strongly-worded press statement, the envoys of 44 African nations, had called for an independent investigation by the UN Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies.

Wefornews Bureau (with IANS inputs)

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