Tanzanian student targeted because she was black: High Commissioner Kijazi

The Tanzanian envoy will visit Bengaluru on Friday, along with a team of officials from the MEA, to reach out to African students in Bengaluru and “assuage their concerns”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: February 5, 2016 11:30 am
tanzanian girl, Tanzanian student, tanzanian student bengaluru, tanzanian student stripped, african student attacked, african student bengaluru, bengaluru news, india news 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.

Expressing outrage at the alleged stripping of a Tanzanian student in Bengaluru, Tanzania’s High Commissioner to India John Kijazi on Thursday said she was attacked because “she was black”, and that the incident had “an element of racism”.

The Tanzanian envoy will visit Bengaluru on Friday, along with a team of officials from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), to reach out to African students in Bengaluru and “assuage their concerns”.

According to police, the 21-year-old student was targeted by a mob in north Bengaluru on the night of January 31 following a road accident in which another foreign student, from Sudan, ran over a 35-year-old housewife from the locality.

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Speaking to The Indian Express, Kijazi said, “According to my view, she was attacked because she was black just like the person who was driving the vehicle and caused the accident. There is an element of mob justice to this, but there is also an element of racism.”

The envoy, who is dean of the African diplomatic corps in Delhi, said, “She was attacked because of her skin colour…the accident happened at a spot, and the woman was not there at that spot and was some distance away..she was not involved at all.”

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Following the incident, Kijazi said, the student “was getting threatening messages for two days”, along with other friends. “She is traumatised. We are in touch with her and other students. She said she felt like in hell. Right now, she is stable, but shocked along with the others,” the envoy said.

Kijazi also sought a “thorough and fair investigation” into the incident. “We want to ensure the security and safety of all African students. If they are scared, they cannot study. Right now, they are not 100 per cent comfortable,” he said.

The Centre, meanwhile, has sought a “detailed report” from the Karnataka government on the alleged stripping. The Congress government in the state, however, sought to play down the incident with Home Minister G Parameshwara denying that the student was not stripped and paraded naked as alleged.

“I met the victim personally to boost her self-confidence. I assured her that she would get justice,” he said, adding that the probe has been handed over to the Central Crime Branch (CCB).

Police said that five people, including a BJP worker, have been arrested for targeting the student. They identified the BJP worker as Lokesh Bangari, a member of the Chikkabanavara Gram Panchayat in North Bengaluru.

The Union Home Ministry, meanwhile, has asked the state government to send a detailed report “at the earliest” on the circumstances and events leading up to the incident, and the action taken against culprits and to protect the victim.

Terming the incident as “a matter of shame for the entire nation”, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “We will not allow racial discrimination to take place in the country. For 200 years, India was enslaved by foreigners. We have been fighting racial discrimination. But in India itself, if there is racial discrimination, the government will take it very seriously.”

In Bengaluru, Parameshwara said, “We have submitted a report… to the Minister of External Affairs. An investigation team has been formed that will be assisted by 11 senior police officers. I have also directed Additional Commissioner of Police Charan Reddy to investigate the allegations. He will submit a detailed report.”

Describing what happened “on 31st January… around 7.30 pm”, the student stated in her police complaint that she and four friends were looking for something to eat “as the mob of Indians started chasing and throwing stones to us in the car, just because they saw we were Africans”.

She said that after two of her friends managed to escape, another friend reached the spot to help her. “As we were leaving, the Indians started beating my friend and me and started pulling our clothes and torn (sic) them leaving me with not (sic) on top and left me like that,” she stated.

“We went into a bus but the driver did not want (to) move and the people in the bus started to beat us and pushed us outside… I fell on the stairs of the bus and the Indians outside pulled me and my friend and continued beating us. Then we ran to one of the shops and sat there but still they followed us until one Iranian came and helped us… we went to a friend’s house where we stayed without going out for two days,” she stated.

Reacting to the remarks of the Tanzanian High Commissioner, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said there was a road accident following which there was a “chain reaction” leading to this “shameful and regrettable” incident. Terming the incident as “isolated”, he said the incident should not be “generalised”.

“We have assured our African friends that necessary legal action will be taken and stringent punishment will be given to those involved in the attack and that we will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of African students in India,” said Swarup, adding that there were about 5,000 African students in the country.

The decision to send a team to Bengaluru was taken after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, MEA secretary (economic relations) Amar Sinha and other senior officials.

(With inputs from ENS Delhi/Bengaluru)


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  1. R
    Feb 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm
    All people are so innocent . The peson who was killed had no value of lige ? Press is sold our . Cheap tactics of TRP .
    1. R
      Feb 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm
      Ye sare hamare desh ko barbaad kar rahe hain . Jisko mara uska kuch nahin . Pagal nrws wale . Aaj kejriwal ne 760 poor logon ko khana khilaya . Kisi press ne dikhaya ? Bike hue presswale
      1. B
        Feb 5, 2016 at 1:45 am
        1. R
          Feb 5, 2016 at 6:54 am
          Yes current Karnataka Government is Racist Government, She was targeted because she is from Africa. These Goondas of Congi realy Horrible in Karnatkak creating all sort of Issues for Public...Corrupt Congi.. government is not making any attempt to contain them and given a free hand to these anti nationals. Where is this Pappu ? has He visited Bengaluru ? Has he asked Siddhu to resign from CM post. President rule should be imposed in karnataka. Law and Order has gone for a toss in Karnataka
          1. J
            Feb 5, 2016 at 1:47 am
            Opps.. India just lost the support of Tanzania for a permanent seat in UN Security Council. Poor India.
            1. T
              Feb 5, 2016 at 5:17 pm
              Tanzanian drunk driver, killed a Muslim woman while she was walking with the family. So the outraged muslim husband and his relatives caught hold of them trashed them and burnt their car. It was not BJP or RSS, it is the work of Muslim terrorists in the country. Later the same muslim terrorists gangedup and beat up another Tanzanian girl, so now where are all the Khans and mussies not talikg about intolerance, because they know that mussies caused this issue. Mussies are intolerant on any colour or religion or country. That is the bottom line. Media and Congress are now playing their role.
              1. I
                Feb 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm
                It is not actually about racism. Most people in South India are black. I know that place where that scene happened and there these foreigners come and deal drugs. Something must have snapped. God knows we all snap when things become intolerable. The papers are downplaying the drug abuse coz of tourism and sensationalizing the woman's case which i agree is downright absurd. But there are always two parties involved, just saying.
                1. I
                  Feb 5, 2016 at 2:33 am
                  An unfortunate event. we in india are probably one of the most racist country. we cant be terating foreigners or be it anyone like this in the name of race colour caste or origin. such acts create a very bad perception of india internationally and also risk the lives of indians living abroad. I have lived in few african countries for sometime and experienced a very polite and humble behaviour from them. it hurts when people from those countries are treated in this shameful manner in our own country. my Head is down with shame.
                  1. B
                    Feb 5, 2016 at 11:25 am
                    1. A
                      Feb 5, 2016 at 2:51 am
                      But the attackers were jehadis sir. Please research
                      1. d
                        Feb 5, 2016 at 4:21 am
                        Who is the real culprit, these foreigners who were driving drunk and recklessly killing people on the road or those who could not bear the goonda behavior.
                        1. H
                          Har Har
                          Feb 5, 2016 at 8:04 am
                          You!!! you degdrade your country infront of other nations? swine remember Maurya?? the be rapist you dog
                          1. R
                            Feb 5, 2016 at 5:00 am
                            Action needs to be taken against the ailants. But also where is the foreign student who ran over the lady. Arrest them and investigate the matter. It is a well known fact that many of these so called foreign students do not behave OK and take law into their own hands. There are many such instances of breaking of law. If they can carry on so long and without fear, it is only because f our corrupt system
                            1. R
                              Feb 5, 2016 at 4:57 am
                              Please let us know the names of the alleged aialants. That will give some clue to what is this all about. Why is the sicular press dare not give the names. I can very well guess who they are, to which group they belong
                              1. I
                                Indiana Jones
                                Feb 5, 2016 at 2:17 am
                                How true, we complain about racism abroad at the drop of a hat. In india we are racists among ourselves. How we treat the people from northeast is known to all. Castism is the euphemism we use for racism in india. Shameful hypocrites we are!
                                1. N
                                  Feb 5, 2016 at 2:19 am
                                  Some time ago, on social media some foreigners were discussing racialism across the world and included India as one of the racial countries. Some one from India challenged this and said India is a great country and will not indulge in such acts. The foreigner immediately provided evidence by way of video links. Generally we all resort to denial. The incident took place. There may be a cause. But when we treat a woman that way in India we must think if an Indian woman may be getting treated that way in a foreign country would we accept that. As a Indian when I have visited many foreign countries. However after many visits when I went abroad on behalf of an MNC, they put me through a sensitization training on acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This was a surprise to me, but they believed such awareness must be imparted without uming a default good behavior. Schools must teach behavior for the benefit of the public. Foreign countries sending students should also do such training. The educational insutions welcoming them must also do such training. Indians are racists. The police is apathetic. But a lot of black skinned people do exist among Indians. The racist element comes to the fore when there is a grievance, and under some check at other times. Mob justice usually occurs when a public grievance exists. While deploring the incidence I will also urge foreign students to think of what they are doing wrong in general.
                                  1. M
                                    madan gupta
                                    Feb 5, 2016 at 2:55 am
                                    भेद भाव को छोड़ कर अपराधी को सज़ा दो.
                                    1. G
                                      Garcia Madero
                                      Feb 5, 2016 at 10:02 am
                                      India is one of the most racist countries in the world. I have seen people from north India hating people from south, south people hating north, north hating north east India. Bengalis and Punjabis never get along, Tamils and Bhai, Matathis and Biharis, .... The story is quite a long one.
                                      1. M
                                        Feb 5, 2016 at 10:03 am
                                        We as Indians oppose what ever happened but Mr ambador dont forget what Indians go through in your African countries there are hundreds of horrific incidences of africa
                                        1. R
                                          Feb 5, 2016 at 11:14 am
                                          No one is talking about talking about theman killed in the accident by a drunk african driver, and the injured petson, the crowds reaction is the accident not to the africans. In India, the driver of the vehicle which causes accident always runs off fearing for his life crowd reaction is same irrespective of his race or relegion.
                                          1. N
                                            Namgyal Markim
                                            Feb 5, 2016 at 8:10 am
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