03/04/2017 3:49 PM IST | Updated 03/04/2017 3:59 PM IST

Attack Against Nigerians 'Xenophobic And Racial', Say African Envoys

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
One of the injured admitted at Kailash Hospital post-violence on Monday evening in racial attacks on African nationals near Pari Chowk on March 28, 2017 in Greater Noida.

The African Heads of Mission posted in New Delhi have strongly condemned last week's attack on Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida and said such attacks were "xenophobic and racial in nature".

A statement issued after a meeting of the envoys following the incident and dated March 31 said: "As regards the recent unfortunate incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Mission strongly condemn the incident and express their deep concern and also take note that these reprehensible events both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities. The meeting unanimously agreed that those re-accumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature."

The attack on four Nigerian students took place on March 27 night in Greater Noida, some 40 km from the Indian capital, following protests over the death of a Class 12 student of a residential colony there due to drug overdose. Some people who were holding a candle-light vigil for the student attacked the Nigerians suspecting them of drug-running.

The day after the incident, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay described the incident as "deplorable" and in his weekly media briefing on March 30 said: "It is clear that such criminal acts are completely unacceptable and have been condemned."

He said said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken to Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath about this while Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar spoke to the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria.

"Law enforcement authorities of the district have made arrests and a large number of people are under watch. The investigation is on and the law of the land will prevail," he stated.

In their statement, the African Heads of Mission said they reviewed previous such incidents of attacks on African nationals "and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India".

"They equally expressed their expectations for strong condemnation from the highest political level (both nationally and locally) of the Government of India, as well expediting legal actions against the perpetrators," the statement said.

"They agreed to take further actions including the call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the African Union Commission," it concluded.