Outraged over the recent killing of a Congolese national, African countries have demanded concrete steps against “racism and Afro-phobia” and sought deferment of the celebrations of Africa Day by India, which on Wednesday assured them of safety and security of their nationals.
The envoys of the African nations, taking strong exception to killing of Congolese national Masonda Ketada Oliver last week, said they will not attend the “Africa Day” celebrations scheduled for Thursday and that India must take “concrete steps” to guarantee the safety and security of its African nationals.
Dean of African Group Head of Missions and Ambassador of Eritrea Alem Tsehage Woldemariam said the envoys of 42 African countries met and deliberated extensively on recent attacks against its nationals.
“The Indian government is strongly enjoined to take urgent steps to guarantee the safety of Africans in India including appropriate programmes of public awareness that will address the problem of racism and Afro-phobia in India,” he said in a statement.
He also said that the African envoys have asked for a postponement of the ICCR-organised event to mark Africa Day because the African Community in India, including students, are in a “state of mourning in memory of the slain African students in the last few years, including Oliver.
Responding to the concerns of the African envoys, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said government has directed concerned authorities to take stringent action against the culprits involved in killing of the Congolese national.
“When I came to know about the unfortunate killing of a Congo national in Delhi, we directed stringent action against the culprits. I would like to assure African students in India that this an unfortunate and painful incident involving local goons,” she tweeted.
Minister of State in the Ministry V K Singh has been asked to meet the heads of missions of African countries to assure them India’s commitment towards safety and security of the African nationals, she added.
Oliver was beaten to death last week in Vasant Kunj area following a brwal over hiring of an autorickshaw.