A 23-year-old Congolese national was allegedly beaten to death by three men in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj Friday night. The victim, identified as Masonda Ketanda Olivier, had come to India on a student visa in 2012 and had recently taken up a teaching job.
While Olivier’s friend alleged it was a hate crime as the men used racial slurs against him, Delhi Police maintained that he was murdered over a brawl about an auto-rickshaw. The whole incident was recorded on CCTV cameras installed in the area. Police have arrested a 23-year-old man, identified as Mobin Azad Saifi, who had earlier been arrested on molestation charges. They are looking for two other men who were involved in the incident.
Olivier lived in South Extension and had recently started teaching French at a private institute, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Ishwar Singh. The incident took place at 11.45 pm Friday, minutes before Olivier’s birthday, which fell on Saturday.
“Olivier and his friend were returning from the residence of another friend at Kishangarh locality in Vasant Kunj. While he waited for an auto-rickshaw, his friend went to a nearby shop to buy cigarettes. When an auto-rickshaw arrived there, a group of three men, heading towards Mehrauli, stepped inside the vehicle before Olivier could. This led to a heated exchange of words, which soon turned into a brawl,” said the DCP.
A senior police official said the men attacked Olivier and repeatedly hit him with stones. “The group pounced on Olivier as he tried to escape… they chased him for nearly 20-25 metres and attacked him again with stones. When locals rushed to his rescue, the trio beat them up as well. The victim’s friend rushed to his help and raised an alarm. He also called up other African nationals, who lived nearby, and alerted them. But the accused managed to escape from the spot,” he said.
Local residents called the police control room and Olivier was rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Center. He had sustained a serious head injury in the attack and was declared dead.
While Olivier’s friend and other African nationals claimed he was targeted because of his race, police claimed that was not the case. “On the basis of a complaint by the victim’s friend, a case of murder was registered at Vasant Kunj (north) police station in connection with the incident. The Embassy of the Republic of Congo was also informed. We have identified the accused from eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage,” added the official.
“One person, Mobin Azad Saifi, has been arrested and two others — identified as Mukesh and Prakash — are absconding. Efforts are on to nab them,” said DCP Singh.