Photo Credit: Indian Express
 by Africa
, 24 June 2016.
Following the recent attacks on different African
people in India, the country’s president, Pranab Mukherjee, has expressed
concerns that the relationship between India and Africa is being threatened.
Speaking to a gathering of Indian envoys from across the world, President
Mukherjee stated that African students in the country should not be worried
about their safety and security.
During his address, the president also stated that it
would be unfortunate if the Indo-African relationship diminishes, and stressed
that the Indian youth need to be educated about the history of that
relationship. And perhaps to set the ball rolling, the president will be
visiting Namibia, Ghana, and Ivory Coast in June. Meanwhile India’s Minister of
State for the North East region, VK Singh, and External Affairs Minister,
Sushma Swaraj, will be meeting with African students today to assure them of
their safety and security which the Delhi Police Chief, Alok Kumar Verma, says
the government is committed to ensuring.
This assurance from the government led the Association
of African Students in India to call off a proposed demonstration in Jantar
Mantar today over the increased attacks on Africans in the past couple of
weeks. Days ago, a 26-year-old Nigerian man was assaulted in the southern
city of Hyderabad, while a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo
was beaten to death in Delhi in an apparent racially motivated attacks.
Two men have been arrested in connection with the Congolese national’s murder,
while investigations continue into the case of the Nigerian that
was assaulted.
Racism and discrimination against Africans in India –
or ‘Afrophobia’ – repeatedly shows itself in cases of verbal abuse and
physical violence in these communities. African students in the
country have been very vocal about being on the receiving end of
racism from Indians whenever they venture past the ‘safety’ of their school
campuses or dorms. Although the unfortunate behaviour is not necessarily
limited to them.
The degeneration of the situation caused African
diplomats to threaten to boycott the annual Africa Day celebrations last
week Thursday. Furthermore, they asked the Indian government to adequately
address the situation, otherwise they will discourage their nationals from
applying to Indian universities to study in a “climate of fear and insecurity.”