Attack not racial, Sushma tells African delegation

SansadTV Bureau

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha during Winter Session of the parliament in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Photo

On Tuesday afternoon, External Affairs Minister met a delegation of African students in Delhi in the wake of a spate of attacks against African nationals in the capital.

The Minister assured them of their safety and reconfirmed that the killing of 23-year-old Congolese national in Delhi last week, was not a case of racial attack.

“I met the delegation of African students and 2 leaders, told them the incident is not only unfortunate but painful, said Swaraj while addressing a press conference after the meeting.

“Tried to explain to them that the incident was huge but it wasn’t an incident of racial discrimination,” she added.

A similar statement was issued by Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh earlier.

The External Affairs Minister went on to say that the attack on Masunda Oliver should not be seen in the context of a racial killing.

Swaraj also assured the delegation that a fair probe was being carried out into the incident.

“The day this incident took place, I sought a report from Lt Governor and I was informed that 2 people have been arrested,” Swaraj said while addressing the media.

For the first time the government spoke about CCTV footage of the incident.

“CCTV footage clearly shows that Indian citizens who were present at spot, tried their best to save Masunda Oliver,” claimed Swaraj.

Swaraj pacified the worried African delegation and assured them of their safety in India. She promised them the government will initiate sensitisation programmes.

“We’ve chalked out a plan…our MoS along with Secretary will visit every metro city and hold discussions with African students…We will initiate programmes of awareness & sensitization in areas with maximum population of African students so that such incidents don’t recur,” Swaraj said.

Just two days ago, Sushma Swaraj spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung to ensure safety of the African citizens in Delhi. Swaraj also called for strict action against those found guilty.

Envoys of African countries also raised the issue with the Indian authorities after Oliver’s killing.

On Tuesday, both President Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari condemned the attacks on African nationals in India. Interestingly, the attacks come at a time from VP Ansari is on a five-day visit to two North African countries – Morocco and Tunisia.