According to media reports, on 27th March, a gang of persons forced their way into a residence of Nigerian students in Greater Noida, in the National Capital Region of Delhi. They demanded the right to search the students' refrigerator. They alleged that the Nigerians were cannibals and accused them of murdering a local youth. Instead of defending the foreign students from this outrageous attack, the police lodged an FIR against the students!
Although no evidence could be found by the police linking the death of the youth to the Nigerian students in any way, all kinds of false rumors were spread. Following this, at least 7 students of two universities in Greater Noida were brutally beaten up by a mob of nearly 100 goons, at a Mall. The police stood by while these students suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalized. Since then, boys and girls from different countries of Africa who have come to study or work in Greater Noida and other parts of National Capital Region of Delhi are living in a state of siege.
The fact that hundreds of students from different countries of Africa living in the Greater Noida area became the target of racist attacks confirms that this was a pre-planned attack with official backing. It must be noted that these attacks are not the first of their kind. Over the past few years, students from African countries have been brutally attacked by racist mobs in different parts of India including New Delhi, Bangalore, Jalandhar and Goa. Last year a Congolese student cum teacher in Delhi was beaten to death over a minor argument. Three years ago, a former minister of the Delhi government led a mob to attack Nigerian and Ugandan women in a South Delhi colony, accusing the women of being prostitutes.
Students from Nigeria and other African countries are falsely accused of being drug peddlers, prostitutes, fake currency exchangers, etc in the Indian monopoly controlled media. They are harassed by the police and authority at every step of their way. Now, the charge of being cannibals has been added.
The African students living in India are justifiably very angry with these growing attacks, with the fact that in most cases the police turn a blind eye and instead blame and harass the victims themselves. The attackers are not punished.
The Association of African Students in India (AASI) has pointed out that Africans in India are constantly attacked and persecuted in numerous ways, including refusal of accommodation by landlords, etc. It has demanded that the state provide security to them and punish the attackers. It has blamed the government for failure to secure the lives of African students and has threatened to write to the African Union to cut all bilateral trade with India. It has announced that they would give details of the growing racism which African students are facing in India to all the local media houses in their respective countries. It has stated that they would ensure that a detailed report is sent to the high levels of all African governments and heads of state. It has declared that they will ask African students in their respective countries to stop making India their study destination with immediate effect. It has announced plans for an All India protest.
The stand taken by the Association of African Students in India reveals the terrible sense of insecurity they live in, and the humiliation they face on a daily basis in India. According to news reports, the Nigerian government has demanded of the Indian government prosecution of the guilty and expressed concern that such crimes were recurring.
The Indian state is completely responsible for the attacks on African peoples in India. It is responsible for insidiously propagating the worst kinds of racist, colonial and imperialist notions against non-white skinned foreign nationals in India. The Indian state has the same attitude to the people and countries from the African continent as did the British colonialists. It is part of the evidence that proves that this state is a colonial legacy.
The struggle of African students against officially sponsored racist attacks deserves unconditional support from all progressive and democratic forces. Government of India deserves to be condemned for following in the footsteps of the British Raj and its racist policy.