Tanzanian student attack: Sushma Swaraj says ‘deeply pained’, asks Karnataka CM to ensure safety for foreign students

The Tanzanian student alleged that she was stripped and forced to walk naked in public by a mob that went on a rampage and set fire to her car after a road accident.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru | Updated: February 5, 2016 11:33 am
The Tanzanian student alleged that she was stripped and forced to walk naked in public by a mob that went on a rampage and set fire to her car after a road accident. The Tanzanian student alleged that she was stripped and forced to walk naked in public by a mob that went on a rampage and set fire to her car after a road accident.

A 21-YEAR-OLD Tanzanian student has lodged a police complaint accusing a mob of stripping her and forcing her to walk “without her top” on the street in Bengaluru on the night of January 31.

The alleged incident took place following a road accident earlier in the day, when a car driven by a Sudanese medical student hit a local resident, 35-year-old Sabeen Taj, who died in the accident, while her husband Sanuallah sustained injuries.

According to the woman’s complaint, a mob gathered that night and set on fire the Sudanese student’s car, as well as a car in which the Tanzanian student was travelling. While the Tanzanian student had not made allegations of being stripped by the mob in the complaint filed on Sunday, she did so on Wednesday, when police summoned her following media reports of the alleged incident. She alleged in her statement that “her top was removed” by the mob, police said.

Reacting to the “shameful” incident, External Affairs Minister Sushma said that she has asked Karnataka Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah to take “stringent” action against the guilty.

Swaraj said that Siddaramaiah had informed her that a criminal case has been registered and four accused arrested. Local police said they had arrested the Sudanese student, 20-year-old Mohammed Ahad, in connection with the accident and six others for torching the two cars of the African students.

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It is learnt that the High Commission of Tanzania has sent a Note Verbale to the Ministry of External Affairs about the reported attack, requesting it to take necessary legal action against the guilty.

Sources said the Joint Secretary in MEA’s East and Southern Africa Division, Tanmaya Lal, spoke to the High Commissioner of Tanzania, John Tigazi, and expressed regret over the “unfortunate” incident.

Later, Swaraj tweeted, “We are deeply pained over the shameful incident with a Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru…I have asked the Chief Minister to ensure safety and security of all foreign students and stringent punishment for the guilty.”

When contacted, Bengaluru’s Deputy Commissioner of Police (north division) T R Suresh said, “We were shocked by media reports on Wednesday and we summoned the woman to know what exactly happened. She appeared before the Soladevanahalli police and gave a new statement, saying she was stripped by a mob. We have added suitable sections of the IPC to the FIR that was registered earlier based on the complaint that her car was set on fire. We need to investigate further.”

The incident took place at Ganapathinagar in north Bengaluru, where a number of African students live and study at local colleges.

Following the incident, the Tanzanian woman, a student of Acharya College in Soladevanahalli, informed an association of African students that she was stripped and forced to walk half-naked in public by the mob. She also alleged that a police constable present at the scene remained a mute spectator.

Bosco Kaweesi, a legal adviser to the All African Students Union (AASU), said the Tanzanian woman was not linked in any way to the road accident involving the Sudanese student.

“The victim and her friends were travelling in their car 30 minutes after the accident and the mob targeted them randomly. She was stripped and made to run to hide. She attempted to board a bus, but passengers pushed her away. Later, she tried to hire an autorickshaw but the driver refused,” he said.

Kaweesi said he called and informed the police inspector at Soladevanahalli police station about the incident on Sunday night, but was asked to contact the control room instead.

A group of students who went to complain at the police station about the alleged stripping was asked by officers to produce the student involved in the fatal accident, even though the Sudanese national was already in their custody, Kaweesi alleged.

A few months ago, in Kothanur region of north Bengaluru, locals ganged up to beat four students from the Ivory Coast following complaints about frequent late night parties. The police had arrested nine people in the case.