External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked Indians to extend the hand of friendship to Africans living in India. In a tweet last night, Swaraj urged Indians to shake hands with the next "African citizen" they come across and tell them that "India loves you".
Swaraj's appeal comes against the backdrop of a number of attacks on Africans in different parts of India. On 20 May, Masunda Kitada Olivier, a 23-year-old post-graduate student in Delhi, who hailed from Congo, was allegedly beaten to death by a group of men in a brawl over an autorickshaw ride.
I appeal to fellow Indians. Next time you meet an African citizen, pl shake hand and say 'India loves you'.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) June 2, 2016
Swaraj, who met Olivier's family on Tuesday, however refused to accept the killing as a racist attack.
"These were not premeditated acts against a particular community, rather these were spontaneous attacks perpetrated by anti-social and criminal elements,” Swaraj said.
Swaraj, who earlier met a delegation of Africans at the external affairs ministry at Jawahar Bhawan, also said,“India is the land of Gandhi and Buddha. We have fought consistently against racial discrimination. Gandhi himself championed the cause of fighting against this evil. We can never have a racist mindset… it is incumbent upon us to prevent such attacks and we are determined to do so.”
Soon thereafter, Twitter began reacting to Swaraj's tweet.
me: India loves you— fluffy (@curiousgawker) June 2, 2016
African citizen: Africa isn't a country https://t.co/UQbY0tPLmR
*shakes hand of "African citizen" *— Brot-talent (@kothubarotta) June 2, 2016
"India loves you"
African citizen: "I have a boyfriend" https://t.co/BJEmVngS3a
An African reacts after being told "India loves you" pic.twitter.com/ks6CDCHnz0— St_Hill (@St_Hill) June 2, 2016
.@SushmaSwaraj Ma'am I just said "India loves you" to an African guy, he slapped me and said "haramkhor kala hun African nahi" :unamused::joy:— maithun (@Being_Humor) June 2, 2016
I appeal to fellow Indians. Next time you meet a Bangladesh citizen, pl shake hand and say 'That was a no ball'.— maithun (@Being_Humor) June 2, 2016
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