Why approach U.N. on attacks, Sushma asks African envoys

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrives for a meeting in New Delhi.  

India on Wednesday questioned the decision of the African envoys to approach the United Nations on recent attacks on African nationals and noted that that there is sufficient institutional mechanism in the country to ensure safety of all foreigners.

In the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the attacks were not racially motivated, even as the African envoys planned to call a special meeting on the issue.

“They said that they want to go to the Human Rights Council. Do we have any shortage of institutional system in India? We have free press, judiciary, national human rights body to ensure safety of all Africans,” said Ms. Swaraj, explaining that India has conveyed its opposition to the idea of United Nations level intervention into the issue, during a meeting with the Dean of the African Group Head of Missions, Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam, the Eritrean ambassador.

Ms. Swaraj said the incident of mob attack in Greater Noida took place on March 27, when local miscreants took advantage of the anger among locals following the death of 19-year old student Manish, allegedly due to drug overdose.

“Six people have been arrested in the case. Please do not say that the crime was motivated by racial reasons till the inquiry is over. We do not do that when attacks against Indians took place in the United States  [till the end of the inquiry],” Ms. Swaraj said speaking in Hindi in Parliament.

“That is why Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (retd.) V.K. Singh met the Dean today and told him that their decision to approach the Human Rights Council has put us in a dilemma,” she said.

Mr. Woldemariam, however, said the deputy minister of external affairs briefed him about the government’s preparation to counter attacks on African nationals.

“I went for the meeting with Minister of State V.K. Singh to hear the Indian position. My role is that of a bridge between my colleagues from Africa and India. The statement that we issued on March 31 was a collective expression of our position and we will take a collective call on the measures that India has taken to deter such attacks in future,” he said after meeting Gen. Singh.

He is likely to call a special meeting shortly to deliberate upon the statement and assurances from Ms. Swaraj, Mr Woldemariam said. “We will issue a fresh statement after the meeting.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 1:38:50 AM |

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