External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament that the African missions statement describing the attacks on African students as “xenophobic and racial”, was “unfortunate, painful and surprising”.
She clarified in Parliament that India’s response to the incident could not be called inadequate and that the government was committed to the safety of African nationals in India.
“The Dean’s statement that our political leadership is silent is completely contrary to facts… His statement was surprising and painful. We have said that it was unfortunate. The Indian government’s response cannot be called inadequate by any means,” the External Affairs Minister said.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, she said that racial crimes were usually “pre-planned”, which wasn’t the case with the recent attack on the African students by a mob in Greater Noida.
She informed the House that her deputy in the ministry VK Singh spoke to the head of missions of the African group and conveyed to him the prompt response taken by the ministry and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. She said the African head of missions was also offered a meeting with the Prime Minister if he was still unsatisfied with India’s response.
Swaraj also objected to the African missions’ demand for an investigation by the Human Rights Council and said the government has told him that India has robust human rights bodies and NGOs, besides an independent media and judiciary.
The statement by the External Affairs Minister came after KC Venugopal from the Congress attacked the government on the matter, accusing it of “diplomatic failure”.
Swaraj then gave details of the incident to the House. She said a youth in Greater Noida had died and his parents blamed “drug overdose” for his death. Locals took out a candle march, during which an uncontrolled mob of criminals who had infiltrated the crowd attacked the African students, she said.
“Racist crimes are pre-planned which was not the case here,” she said.
Six people have been arrested by the state police and it is not proper to call the crime racially-motivated before the probe is over, she explained.
(With inputs from PTI)