A day after two Tanzanian women were locked inside their house by a mob following false rumours of child abduction, their families have said they are planning on leaving India. “She is so scared that every time she gets a call from an unknown number, she thinks a local may have tracked her down. She barely interacted with any Indians; imagine around 100 men cornering her house and branding her a cannibal and kidnapper. My sister wants to go back now, but we are convincing her to stay,” the sister of one of the women told The Indian Express.
The family also said they fear the police investigation would hinder their chances of leaving the country comfortably. Police had filed an FIR after the women had made frantic PCR calls. DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said, “We have to act on their complaint and all legal procedures have to be followed. There have been times when a complainant leaves the country and they are issued summons, so some cases may be stuck.”
The women were locked up inside their home in Dwarka’s Hari Nagar on Thursday evening. Two Nigerian men living nearby were also rescued after they, too, were locked inside their home by locals. Police said they have started investigation into the mob attack and will try and identify locals who made PCR calls about the alleged kidnapping. Police will also look at videos of the crowd trying to disrupt officers from escorting the women away.
The two women have been shifted out of their house and now live in an area close to their relatives’ home. Meanwhile, police found that one of the rescued Nigerian men was living on an expired visa, and the embassy has been contacted to initiate the deportation process. “It is unfortunate when discrepancies are noted but the embassy officials ask us for details,” an officer said. According to foreigners from African countries, the fear of harassment by authorities keeps many from reporting incidents to police. A 24-year-old Tanzanian woman living in the area where the two women have now been shifted said her phone was snatched while she was travelling in an auto. “There’s no question of approaching police. I did not want to go through a round of questions not related to my case.”
Obinha Benjamin, vice-president of the All India Nigerian Students and Community Association, said, “After a spate of attacks against African nationals, police began meeting us. But beat staff continue to suffer from the same mentality. They are making an effort, but asking for passport and other documents when a mob has targeted you does not look like the pursuit of justice.”