The residents of Savitri Nagar and family members of Krishan Kumar who was arrested on Monday evening for allegedly thrashing a Nigerian national claim that the attack wasn’t racially motivated but because he was caught attempting theft.
In the video that went viral, locals can be seen tying the accused, Ahmad, to a pole and beating him up with rods as he asks for forgiveness. “ Maro maro, kamar pe maro…tod do ise.. Police to chhod degi.. maro ise (Beat him.. hit him at the waist.. Police will let him go),” the locals can be heard saying. “Please forgive me,” Ahmad was heard crying.
Angry residents, however, alleged that Ahmad has been committing theft the area for the last two months. Substantiating their allegations, the locals have procured three videos. In one of them, Ahmad can be seen attempting to break into a house. In the other two, he can be seen running around. “The videos are of two incidents from around September 15. There have been so many thefts in the area. Once, cash worth ₹15,000 was stolen, another time, ₹2,500 and the other time two laptops were stolen. There are more cases but complaints of these three thefts were given to the police,” said Ravi Kumar, a resident.
The locals claimed that after they procured the video from CCTV cameras on the street on September 15, they kept a vigil every night to catch the thief. “The youth in our area would stay awake till 1-2 a.m. every night. He was finally caught on September 24,” said Pawan Kumar, another resident.
Claiming that the attack had nothing to do with Ahmad’s colour, the residents said they would have beaten any person who would have been caught stealing.
“We don’t care if he is African or Indian or of any other nationality. For us, he is a thief we had been looking for,” said Mr. Pawan claiming that children in the area were scared to sleep at night fearing attack by the thief who was allegedly creating havoc in the area for two months.
Mr. Krishan’s family shared the views of the neighbours and alleged he was dangerous, and attacking him was a reflex action.
“It’s wrong to think that it was a racial attack. We have no personal enmity with the man. Same treatment would have been meted out to any other thief. He hit my brother-in-law while trying to escape, he could have overpowered and hurt him too,” said Mithilesh, Mr. Kumar’s sister-in-law.