Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

AAP vigilantism: MEA reassures Africa envoys, promises action

Law Minister Somnath Bharti of the AAP had allegedly harassed a group of Ugandan women in Khirki Extension in south Delhi. (PTI) Law Minister Somnath Bharti of the AAP had allegedly harassed a group of Ugandan women in Khirki Extension in south Delhi. (PTI)
By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Posted: January 19, 2014 2:38 am | Updated: February 6, 2014 2:51 pm

Two days after a crowd led by Law Minister Somnath Bharti of the AAP allegedly harassed a group of Ugandan women in Khirki Extension in south Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday called a meeting of envoys of African countries and told them that the Centre viewed the incident as “condemnable” and would take appropriate action.

The ministry also informed over 20 African envoys that the Delhi Police will set up a single point of contact for grievance redressal.

MEA Secretary (West) Dinkar Khullar met the envoys in South Block on Saturday and conveyed the government’s view that the incident was condemnable.

He also assured the African envoys that there was “no deliberate targeting” of the nationals of any country and the incident would remain an “aberration”.

Khullar informed the envoys that police are deploying extra patrols so that life and property of all residents of Delhi, including foreign nationals, is safeguarded.

A single-point office of the police commissioner will be established, specifically to handle complaints of foreign nationals.

“Although this will be for all foreign nationals… for now, it will primarily focus on African nationals. The single-point contact will be named in a day or two and the African missions will be intimated accordingly,” an official said.

MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, “Incident utterly condemnable. We cannot condone it. Incident should remain an aberration. Extra patrols being deployed so that life & property of residents of Delhi, including foreign nationals, is protected.”

Sources said the envoys were appreciative of the prompt response from the Centre. Though the Ugandan envoy was not in town, many others spoke about the need to sensitise people about the problems faced by their nationals.

“We are concerned about the safety and welfare of our nationals…so we took the opportunity to voice our concerns. The MEA officials took note of our sentiments,” an African envoy, who attended the meeting, said.

Another envoy from a west African country said, “The number of nationals from the African countries are increasing, partly due to the generous scholarship programmes from India and partly due to the economic affluence of certain sections in the African countries. So, the Indian people need to be educated about our presence and our lifestyle habits.”

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