As a 24-year-old law student from Nigeria and his younger brother Endurance Amarawa, 21 were walking in a mall in Noida, a mob rushed towards them. Before they could react, the two brothers were thrashed and sustained serious injuries to their heads, limbs and hands.
The due became a target of racial violence when more than 1,000 people came out on the streets of Greater Noida, around 40 km from the heart of the Capital on Monday, and attacked anyone who looked African.
Amalawa, said on NDTV television “We kept crying for help, but no one came, not even the security marshals. I was running but they followed me and attacked me. Some people were hitting us, pushing us out… they dragged my brother outside and start hitting him.”
“We rushed to one of the showrooms to be safe but the people refused to let us in and started pushing us out. The people caught hold of us and started attacking us with sticks, tools and trash cans,” he added.
Police arrested five men yesterday after hundreds of angry residents of a north Indian city attacked Africans with sticks and metal chairs following the death of a local teenager from a suspected drug overdose by some Africans. Later the arrested five was let off as there was no evidence against them. Police have launched a massive manhunt for others who were involved in the violence.
“Rumors were being spread that Africans are behind the youth’s death and racist comments were made on social media. It looks racially motivated,” senior police officer, Sujata Singh, told AFP. “Five attackers have been arrested and four others are on the run,” she said, adding that 300 people were involved in the rioting.
Around a dozen people were wounded in the violence late Monday in Greater Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi where hundreds of African students are based.
“There were more than 1,000 people on a witch-hunt for Africans,” the First Information Report (FIR) into the incident says.
India’s foreign ministry condemned the incident as “deplorable” and said it had assured the Nigerian high commissioner (ambassador) that all steps were being taken to protect the country’s nationals. Sushma Swaraj On Tues day said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi had promised a “fair and impartial” probe.
Sushma Swaraj spoke to yogi on Tuesday morning after an African student, Sadiq Bello, tweeted her to “act fast” as living in Noida, he said, was becoming a “life threatening issue” for Africans.
Many Nigerians were targeted in the violence, which was apparently triggered by the release without charge of five Nigerian students detained over the teenager’s death.
“The government is committed to ensuring safety and security of all foreigners in India. People from Africa, including students and youth, remain our valued partners,” said a ministry statement.
On Monday, several Africans staged a peaceful candle-light march in the memory of a local teenager, Manish Khari, who died last week in the NSG Society in Greater Noida due to suspected drug overdose. Sources said he suffered a cardiac arrest. A mob attacked the Africans when they were staging the candle-light march, leaving several of them injured.
One television station showed an angry mob hitting a car with sticks, while another showed dozens of attackers hitting shoppers in a mall with metal chairs.
Imran, a student of Noida International University, was looking for an auto-rickshaw near Pari chowk when he was attacked for no faults of his. “I was coming from my sister’s house. All of a sudden, I heard racial remarks from a bunch of people heading towards me. They caught hold of me and started thrashing me,” he said.
Around 200 police personnel have been deployed in all sectors of Greater Noida. Special instructions have been issued to secure residential societies with African population.