Bengaluru/Nagpur: ”According to prima facie reports, the Tanzanian student was not stripped and paraded naked,” Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara said on Thursday.
Parameshwara was referring to a 21-year-old Tanzanian woman who alleged yesterday that she was beaten and stripped on Sunday when she found herself in the midst of mob fury over a woman being run over and killed by a Sudanese student.
“The attack on the Tanzanian student was a not a racial attack. It was in response to an earlier incident,” the minister said.
The minister said that five accused are being interrogated by police officials in connection with the case and added that the state government has informed the ministry of external affairs about the incident.
“There are 12,000 foreign students in Bengaluru, their protection is our duty. These kind of incidents should not happen,” home minister G Parameshwara said while addressing a press conference here.
The girl’s nightmare is said to have unfolded around 7.30pm on Sunday when she and her three Tanzanian friends were going in a car in Ganapathinagar, off of Hesaraghatta Main Road. Almost 2km away and about 30 minutes hour earlier, a car driven by a Sudanese student had run over Shabana Taj, 35, who had been walking with her husband, electrical contractor Sanaullah.
A mob, allegedly comprising locals, that was rioting following the accident, stopped the girl’s car. “We got out of the car and there were many people around. There was a policeman standing nearby and I asked him what had happened. He said nothing. A friends rushed to me and asked me not to walk around. By then, the mob started hitting him,” the Tanzanian woman said.
“They pushed me around and hit me. I was wearing a T-shirt. They tugged at it and tore it, leaving me literally without anything. They continued to thrash us and we ran for our lives. My friends and I hopped onto a bus. The driver didn’t move and the other passengers threw us out. We were at the mob’s mercy. A passerby who offered me a T-shirt was also attacked. They thrashed us again till we took shelter near some shops,” she said.
The mob, meanwhile, had set the car ablaze.
As they made their way to Sapthagiri Hospital, the mob chased them. Even at the hospital, the mob allegedly threatened to storm the hospital if the Africans were not sent out.
Police sources said they took the woman’s statement on Wednesday, confirming there’s been a three-day delay in acting on the incident.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj took note of the incident and tweeted, “We are deeply pained over the shameful incident with a Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru.”
She asked the state government to ensure the safety and security of all foreign students.
Earlier, in a note verbale, Tanzania high commission asked the external affairs ministry to take strong legal action against those who assaulted the girl.
Bengaluru police on Wednesday registered a case under 354 IPC (outraging the modesty of a woman) against unidentified persons.