A foreign ministry team comprising senior officials will head to Bengaluru today to review the situation after a A 21-year-old Tanzanian student was allegedly beaten up and stripped by a mob in a case of mistaken identity.
The High Commissioner of Tanzania, Joint Secretary (States), Director (East and Southern Africa in MEA) and Regional Director of ICCR will be part of the team.
Yesterday, at a press conference, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tried to play down the assault by saying that it was "an isolated incident" that got "out of hand because of the road accident." But the ministry will take "all steps to ensure the safety and security of African students in India", he said.
"We have assured our African friends that necessary legal action will be taken. We will extend full co-operation to investigation of this case and stringent punishment will be given to the perpetrators. We condemn this incident unequivocally," Swarup said.
Those who were attacked were innocent,they were not part of accident. Thats the truth-Bosco Kaweesi,Legal Adviser pic.twitter.com/FvIgEUcDaS— ANI (@ANI_news) February 4, 2016
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has said the incident was a matter of shame and no racial discrimination will be tolerated in the country.
"For 200 years, India was enslaved by foreigners. We have been fighting racial discrimination. But in India itself, if there is racial discrimination, the government will take it very seriously. We will not allow racial discrimination to take place in the country. This is a matter of shame for the entire nation," the Minister of State for Home told reporters.
For 200 years, India was enslaved by foreigners. We have been fighting racial discrimination. But in India itself, if there is racial discrimination, the government will take it very seriously.
Five persons have been arrested in this connection.
Tanzanian high commissioner John Kigazi has said the attack was definitely racist.
Politicians were quick to seize the opportunity to score political points and trade blame.
BJP targeted Congress for not initiating action against the culprits and questioned Rahul Gandhi's "silence" over the incident.
The party accused the Congress government in Karnataka of covering up the incident and said its "inaction" has brought disrepute to Bangalore city. It also demanded immediate action, including transfer of DGP and suspension of police officers concerned.
Citing rape incidents in Tripura, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, where action is yet to be taken against the culprits, BJP said Rahul and other leaders pick and choose incidents to give them political colour and have no interest in victims.
"Such a big incident has happened and so much time has passed, still Rahul and Congress are silent for something that has happened under the very nose of their government there. No action has been taken. This shows how much hypocrisy is there in them and how they play hypocritical politics," Union Minister and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
"It is shameful that those who are experts in creating a mountain out of a molehill have suddenly turned silent and their silence seems to justify such an unfortunate incident," Naqvi said.
On 31 January, a car driven by Sudanese student Mohammed Ismail mowed down a local woman out on an evening walk. Ismail was also injured and his car was set on fire. The Tanzanian woman, who is doing her Bachelor of Business Management course in a college in the city, reached the spot half an hour after the accident. She was immediately pulled out of their car by the angry mob, her companions were also assaulted and their vehicle was torched.
When the student tried to board a bus to escape, she was pushed out by other passengers.
However the government of Karnataka yesterday denied that the incident was a racist attack.
"There was no stripping and parading naked," Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara told reporters on Thursday. "This is definitely not a racial attack. It was just a response to the accident by the Sudanese student. I don't think Bangaloreans have that kind of a mindset."
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