New Delhi: The Indian government is facing tough questions from the African diplomatic community that has decided to stay away from this year’s Africa Day celebrations in protest against the murder of a Congolese national in Delhi and other “attacks and harassment” of African students in various parts of the country.
Even as the Narendra Modi government seeks to woo the 54-nation African continent and wants more African students to come and study in India, heads of missions said the climate of fear and insecurity in Delhi was forcing them “with little option than to consider recommending their governments not to send new students to India, unless and until their safety can be granted”.
Congo’s Masonda Ketada Oliver, 29, was beaten to death by three men around 11.30pm on Friday after an altercation over the hiring of an auto-rickshaw near Kishangarh village in Vasant Kunj area in south Delhi.
“The Group of African Heads of Mission have met and deliberated extensively on this latest incidence in the series of attacks to which members of the African community have been subjected to in the last several years,” a statement by Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, ambassador of Eritrea and the dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission, said late Tuesday night.
“They strongly condemn the brutal killing of this African and call on the Indian government to take concrete steps to guarantee the safety and security of Africans in India,” it said.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said she had asked junior foreign minister VK Singh to meet the heads of missions of African countries and assure them of India’s commitment to the safety and security of African nationals
Swaraj also said the government ordered stringent action against the culprits after Oliver’s death and assured of launching a sensitisation programme to stop such incidents.