As many as four Africans were beaten up in Greater Noida’s Pari Chowk area during a candlelight march for a 17-year-old boy who died on Saturday evening. According to police, the Class XII student had allegedly died of a drug overdose, following which his family accused their five Nigerian neighbours of murder and demanded their arrest.
Police said around 7 pm, four Africans who were near Ansal Plaza in Pari Chowk area were attacked by residents while the windscreen of one of their cars was smashed.
Dharmendra Singh, SSP Gautam Buddha Nagar, said, “The protest had been taken out by residents of the area to demand the arrest of the five Nigerians for the death of the Class XII student. A section of those gathered in the area, however, attacked some Africans. We have video recordings of the entire protest and attack. Around five people who could be seen attacking them have been picked up. An FIR is being registered and we are identifying those behind the incident.”
Meanwhile, an association of African students residing in the area issued alerts to the community, asking them to stay inside.
“All African students residing in Greater Noida and its environs are hereby requested to stay at home for their safety as there is a serious mob attack against African students living there,” read a message from the Association of African Students in India.
Police said heavy security has been deployed in the area to prevent any untoward incident.
“Police personnel have been deployed in various parts of Greater Noida, especially areas where Africans reside. Strict action will be taken against anyone who tries to attack any community. Section 144 has already been imposed. More people who were part of the attack are being identified and they are likely to be arrested tonight. A couple of those arrested so far are residents of NSG society,” Sujata Singh, SP (Rural), Gautam Buddha Nagar, said.
Samuel Jack, President of Association of African Students in India, said, “Students have been attacked, their cars damaged. There are at least five such cases. Most of them are students from Nigeria. Some of them have been taken to a private hospital, one girl cannot be traced. We are afraid that she might have been kidnapped.”
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted, “I have asked for a report from Government of Uttar Pradesh about the reported attack on African students in Noida.”
At 7.30 pm on Friday, the Class XII student, Manish Khari, was seen walking outside his residence at NSG Society in Greater Noida. Till 9.30 am the next day, Khari could not be found. In the meantime, his family approached police and filed a complaint alleging that five Nigerians — residing two houses away from them — had “kidnapped” and “eaten” their son.
Police sources said around 9.30 am on Saturday, Khari’s father was at Kasna police station when he came to know that his son had reached home. However, an hour later, Khari was rushed to a private hospital where he died late Saturday afternoon.
“The family alleged that he had been given drugs by their Nigerian neighbours. The postmortem report maintains that the cause of death is uncertain and his viscera has been sent to a forensic lab in Agra for examination,” the SP (Rural) said.
Meanwhile, on the basis of the family’s complaint, an FIR was lodged against five Nigerians under IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc., with intent to commit an offence).
“An FIR has been registered and an investigation is being carried out. The family and residents of the area had come to us, demanding that the Nigerian neighbours be arrested. However, no evidence has been found against them till now,” Singh added.