In another round of violence against Africans in India, nationals from the Ivory Coast were attacked by a mob in Bengaluru on the intervening night of March 9-10.
It isn't clear what exactly triggered the attack. But media reports suggest that local residents of Byrathi, located in the north-eastern part of the city, pelted stones at an African national, who sped by on a motorcycle on Monday night, and then they hurled stones at a car with four Africans. Local residents reportedly complained of Africans creating a "nuisance" in the area.
Locals brutally assault African nationals in Bengaluru; cops call it a 'minor incident' #AfricansTargeted
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) March 11, 2015
The attack came to light because of a post by Maria John on Bangalore Police's Facebook page in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The post said that 20 drunk youths had attacked an African student with a beer bottle and cricket bat.
Sir,One more racial attack in Byrathi cross,near hennur main road.A group of Kannda speaking youths(nearly 20 members) drank and attack the african student in the name of Indian.African student was attacked by the beer bottle and cricket bat.His head and face got open and bleeding.The african student running towards the shema school in that area..pls help him
The Hindu reported that the attack against the Ivory Coast nationals started around 12:30 am on Tuesday morning. “The mob ran riot till about 3 a.m., attacking any African they saw... I was also threatened for calling the police,” a resident said.
The newspaper reported David and his three friends — Sako, Merveil, Abdel — were walking down the road when they were assaulted. “We didn’t even know why they were hitting us. We feared for our lives,” he said.
John, a businessman from Ivory Coast, was attacked by the mob. "The incident took place when I and three others were returning home. I was chased and beaten up. Have sustained multiple injuries," he told PTI.
Last year, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came under fire when its Cabinet Minister Somnath Bharti mounted a vigilante-style raid on African residents, mostly Ugandans and Nigerians, living in Delhi.
— Rajeev Venkat (@RVenkat_India) March 11, 2015
Tensions between the Africans and the local residents have reportedly been simmering for a while in the Byarthi area. “Africans drink on the streets and roam in high-speed at night. They create a lot of problems,” said a neighbour.
Meanwhile, the police has downplayed the Bengaluru attack by calling it a "minor incident." No official complaint has been registered in the case.
"I was there at the Kothanur police station. I interacted with the African nationals and they told me that it was a minor incident, and there was no attack on them," Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Alok Kumar told PTI.
"The Africans do not want to file a case," he added. "However, police would take suo motu cognisance of the reported multiple injuries sustained by John and find out whether he suffered those injuries during the attack."
Police Commissioner M N Reddi said, “There was pushing and jostling by a mob... but no assault.”