All attacks on Africans are not racial, says Sushma Swaraj

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Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.Speaking in the Lok Sabha on April 5, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj questioned the African envoy’s approach of handling the attacks on the African nationals in India. The African envoy had earlier condemned the Government of India for not taking sufficient measures against the string of attacks on Africans in Greater Noida in March.

Referring to the African envoy’s statement, in which they said that “the attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature”, Swaraj said that their statement is “unfortunate, painful and surprising.”

“Six people have been arrested in the case. Please do not say that the crime was motivated by racial reasons till the inquiry is over. We do not do that when attacks against Indians took place in the US (till the end of the inquiry), ”she said.

“They said that they want to go to the Human Rights Council. Do we have any shortage of institutional system in India? We have free press, judiciary, national human rights body to ensure safety of all Africans,” said Swaraj in Lok Sabha.

Swaraj also said that the incident took place when local miscreants took advantage of the anger among locals in the death of 19-year old student Manish who allegedly died of drug overdose and not because of racial discrimination.

“India’s action is in no way inadequate. We are committed to protect all Africans on our soil,” she stressed.

Swaraj also assured that Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh have met the dean and discussed the African envoy’s decision to approach the Human Rights Commission.

“I went for the meeting with Minister of State V.K. Singh to hear the Indian position. My role is that of a bridge between my colleagues from Africa and India. The statement that we issued on March 31 was a collective expression of our position and we will take a collective call for the measures that India has taken to deter such attacks in future,” said Ambassador Woldemariam.

It may be recalled that the incident occurred when a  mob of locals had attacked people of African origin over the death of a teenager due to alleged drug overdose in Greater Noida last month.