Africans attacked in India
Editorial in The New Indian Express, 01st June 2016
(Note: Congrats to the Indian President for pulling up the nation to take note of racial vandalism running riot in the Capital. When a man from Congo was done to death CCV published it with a note that it was a blot on the good neighbourly racial relations with African Countries, although many secular papers reported and dismissed it as a stray incident. Stray incidents don’t repeat themselves too often and in many locations like Delhi, Bangalore and Goa. New Indian Express is to be congratulated for writing an editorial and pointing out: “it cannot be said that everything is hunky-dory on race relations in the country. There can be no disputing that Africans face many problems in India.” Of course there are failures on the part of Africans as well. That is not a reason we should give up our noble Indian culture advising us to be Adhidi Devo Bhava, to treat our Guests like Gods. The concluding sentence of the editorial: “The government must launch a campaign to change the wrong perception that Indians have of Africans” is very relevant. These incidents have to be read, studied and analyzed also the in context of the Kidnap and torture of Cudappah bishop due to Caste hatred. The evil of racism and casteism is very much active in Indian society botgh in religious or political domains and punitive steps are called for to arrest this social disease. james kottoor, editor.)
It is reassuring that the Central government has taken a serious view of the recent attacks on African nationals in Delhi and elsewhere.
Condemnation of the unfortunate incidents has come from the President to the Foreign Secretary. Though there have been minor incidents of violence in the past, what happened last week when a man from Congo was bludgeoned to death in Delhi was the worst. The Foreign Secretary has assured the ambassadors and high commissioners from all the African nations that the government would not spare the killers.
Incidents of violence against Africans have also come from places like Bengaluru and Goa. However, there has been no organised violence against them. Nonetheless, it cannot be said that everything is hunky-dory on race relations in the country. There can be no disputing that Africans face many problems in India. Most of them are students doing university-level studies. Their complaint that they have difficulty in getting accommodation as landlords do not prefer them is genuine. The same landlords would gladly accept as their tenants those from Western nations.
But then, they also do not prefer some sections of Indians. It is also true that in popular perception, Africans are behind many Internet-based frauds. Unfortunately, even as the government was addressing the concerns of Africans, a taxi driver in Delhi was mercilessly attacked by six Africans because he refused to take all of them in his car which could accommodate only a maximum of four. In Goa, an African was arrested for his involvement in a molestation case. These are stray incidents but add to the prevalent negative perception of Africans.
Whatever be such perceptions, nobody must be allowed to take the law into their own hands. After all, Indians and Africans have age-old relations. Their common struggle against colonialism is well-known. The government must launch a campaign to change the wrong perception that Indians have of Africans.