Central team heads for Bengaluru

Tanzanian High Commissioner seeks arrest of those who molested woman.

Updated - September 02, 2016 11:47 am IST

Published - February 04, 2016 07:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A day after the Tanzanian envoy to India sent a note verbale and called the attack on a student in Bengaluru “racist”, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday that a central team would be sent to the city to conduct an inquiry and reassure other African students frightened by the brutal assault.

A team comprising the Tanzanian High Commissioner John W.H. Kigazi, two Joint Secretaries and a representative of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, which provides scholarships, will travel to Bengaluru on Friday, Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

“We will extend the cooperation of both the Central and State governments and will reach out to the students to reassure them that their security and well-being is our primary concern,” he said.

Commitment to safety

Expressing hope that the government would keep its commitment to ensure the safety of students, Mr. Kigazi said it was necessary to bring to book the 40-50 people who molested the Tanzanian student and assaulted three accompanying her and set their car on fire.

“These students had nothing to do with the crowd’s anger over a car accident by another person. Even so, they were targeted because there was anger against each and every black person,” he told presspersons.

“That means it was a racist attack,” he added dismissing accounts by police officials in Karnataka that the attack was an “isolated case” of “mistaken identity”.

Deeply pained

Mr. Swarup said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had been in contact with the officials responsible and said she was “deeply pained over the incident”.

The Ministry has often had to deal with complaint from diplomats from African nations about attacks on Africans studying and working in the country.

Several countries took up the issue during the India-Africa summit in 2015. “We are facing this time and again, which is why we aren’t just asking for the protection of these students but for every African student in India,” Mr. Kigazi, who is the Dean of African nation diplomats in India, said.

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