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India terms African Heads of Mission’s remarks on attacks ‘unfortunate’

IANS | New Delhi |

India on Monday termed as "unfortunate" the African Heads of Mission's statement describing last week's attack on Nigerians in Greater Noida as "xenophobic and racial in nature" even as it stressed its commitment to ensuring all foreign nationals remain safe.

In a reaction following the statement by the African Heads of Mission, the External Affairs Ministry said that the government is "committed to ensuring safety and security of all foreign nationals in India, including African nationals, who remain our valued partners". 

"It is unfortunate that a criminal act triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances has been termed as xenophobic and racial. Investigations on the death of Indian teenager and the subsequent incident by local authorities are ongoing," the MEA statement said.

"Strong Indian institutions are adequate to deal with aberrations that represent act of a few criminals," it added.

The African Heads of Mission had strongly condemned last week's attack on Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida, and kept open the possibility of taking the matter to international human rights bodies for an independent investigation if the government failed to take legal action against the perpetrators or took "sufficient or visible deterring measures" to avoid repeat of such incidents.

A statement issued after a meeting of the envoys — representing 54 countries of the African continent — following the incident and dated March 31 said: "As regards the recent unfortunate incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Mission strongly condemn the incident and express their deep concern and also take note that these reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities. The meeting unanimously agreed that those reaccumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature."

The attack on four Nigerian students took place on March 27 night in Greater Noida, some 40 km from the Indian capital, following protests over the death of a Class 12 student of a residential colony there due to drug overdose. Some people who were holding a candle-light vigil for the student attacked the Nigerians, suspecting them of drug-running.