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New Delhi: The African diplomatic community have decided to stay away from this year’s ‘Africa Day’ celebrations on May 25 in protest against the increasing racial attacks on its nationals, while also seeking action over the murder of a Congolese national in Delhi.
African heads of missions, who met in emergency session on May 24, said the climate of fear and insecurity in Delhi was forcing the African heads of mission ” with little option than to consider recommending their governments not to send new students to India, unless and until their safety can be granted”.
“The Group of African Heads of Mission have met and deliberated extensively on this latest incidence in the series of attacks to which members of the African community have been subjected to in the last several years,” said a statement by Ambassador of Eritrea Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, who is also dean of the Group of African Heads of Mission.
Masonda Ketada Oliver, 29, was beaten to death by three youths around 11.30 pm on May 20 after a verbal altercation over the hiring of an auto-rickshaw near Kishangarh village in Vasant Kunj area in south Delhi.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has reached out to the African envoys, assuring them of safety and security. “I have asked my colleague Gen V K Singh to meet the heads of missions of African countries in Delhi and assure them of Indian Government’s commitment to the safety and security of African nationals in India,” she tweeted.
I have asked my colleague Gen V.K.Singh to meet the heads of missions of African countries in Delhi and assure them /2
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) 25 May 2016
The press release from the African heads of Mission had “strongly” urged India to take urgent steps to guarantee the safety and security of Africans in India.
The Africa Day event, scheduled for May 26, has been postponed. “This is because the African Community in India are in a state of mourning,” Woldemariam said.
He also called upon the media, civil society, think tanks, research institutions, parliamentarians, politicians and community leaders to play major roles in addressing the stereotypes and prejudices against Africans in India.