Attack on Congo student 'heinous', but not racial: Sushma

Attack on Congo student

Submitted by Kumuda on Tue, 2016-05-31 17:44 New Delhi: Condemning the killing of a Congo student (Oliver) as "heinous" and "unacceptable", External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said it was "not a racial attack". "Had it been a case of racial discrimination, no Indian citizen would have tried to save the boy," said Swaraj, while addressing a press conference after a meeting with an African delegation comprising officials and students here. Saying how big a mistake is, killing is unacceptable, Swaraj added, "I tried to explain them although it was a big crime, it was not a racial attack. It is clear from the CCTV footage that local residents tried their best to save the boy (student), but the criminals who were assaulting the boy, thrashed them too. Had it been a case of racial discrimination, no Indian citizen would have tried to save the boy." "On the one hand we organise India-Africa Forum in association with 54 African nations that earns us goodwill, while on the other hand such incidents destroy it all. We will not accept such an incident," she said. Divulging details of the meeting, the External Affairs Minister said, "I just held a meeting with African students and officials. I told them that what had happened with the Congo national was not just unfortunate, but painful as well. Being a mother, I can understand the pain that his parents are going through. They lost their son on foreign soil and to a heinous crime." "I also told them that the day, the incident took place I was admitted to a hospital, but I sought a report from the Delhi's Lieutenant Governor (L-G). The L-G informed me that two accused had already been arrested, and effort was on to arrest the third," she added. Talking about a similar incident in which a Nigerian national was attacked, Swaraj said, "That too not was a case of racial discrimination, because they (Nigerian) were living in the same village in large numbers (nearly 400), and villagers said they had themselves rented their accommodations to them (African citizens)." She added, "I told them that they should not see the incidents through the prism of racial discrimination, and at the same time assured them as far as these incidents are concerned, we will take them to their logical ends." Elaborating on the action taken by the government, she said, "I have told the L-G that when we file a chargesheet before the court in the case, we must urge the judge concerned that we want day-to-day trial in the case so that the accused could be punished stringently at the earliest." Elucidating various measures taken by the government to stop reoccurrence of such incidents, Swaraj said, "We have formulated a programme, under which our Minister of State [Gen. V.K. Singh (retd)] and Foreign Secretary, along with police commissioners of various states, will visit all metro cities to hold meetings with African students to reassure them (about their safety and security). Besides, we will also launch sensitisation campaigns in all states, because such incidents earn bad name to the country." "Under another programme," she said, "We have sent advisories to all the states, asking them to sensitise people in all those areas where African citizens are residing." "Although we have chalked out a huge work-plan, we want to introduce an institutional mechanism in coming 10-15 days so that such incidents don't occur in the future," she added. The minister also thanked African students for withdrawing their protest march following a meeting with the F oreign Secretary and other MEA officials on Monday. She also thanked African HoMs for withdrawing their boycott call on the basis of MEA's appeal. Over a dozen African nationals were attacked in Rajpkhurd village of Chhatarpur, South Delhi on Wednesday night. It is learnt locals objected to the "free lifestyle" of these men and women who stayed in the area. There were four attacks within a span of an hour, sources said, which hint the attacks may have been organised and pre-planned. Four men and two women have been injured in the attacks and are admitted in hospital. The Delhi Police on Friday registered four FIRs in the case. All four complainants, in their 30s, have been residing in Delhi for past few years, police said. (ANI)