Following a candlelight protest march for a 17-year-old who died Saturday, four Nigerian students were attacked and severely injured, as locals alleged that the boy died after the Nigerians forced him to inhale drugs. “I got off the auto rickshaw and seconds later a mob attacked me. They beat me up with sticks. I don’t know what they were saying. I lost consciousness for sometime and vaguely remember how police brought me to the hospital,” said Imran. Imran is among at least four of the nationals who were attacked allegedly by a mob at Pari Chowk and the adjoining Ansal Plaza mall.
Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj who immediately ordered a probe into the matter and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have assured of a fair and impartial investigation into the matter.
The incident of beating up Nigerian residents and vandalising their cars has led to outrage amongst Africans within India and raised the issue of ‘hate crime’ in the country.
Here’s a timeline of events that took place:
Friday, March 24
7.30 pm – Class XII student Manish Khari last spotted outside his house in NSG Black Cat society in Greater Noida.
8.30 pm-9.30 pm – Khari’s family search for him. They claim some young residents said that Khari was last seen with a group of five Nigerians who live two houses away.
11.00 pm – 12.00 am – Khari’s family files a complaint at Kasna police station alleging that their son has been “kidnapped”and “beaten” by their Nigerian neighbours.
Saturday, March 25
9.30 am – Khari’s father is at Kasna police station in Greater Noida when he receives a phone call which tells him that his son has reached home.
10.30 am – Khari is taken to a private hospital after he shows signs of being unwell.
3.30 pm – Khari passes away while undergoing treatment.
5 pm – Khari’s family files a police complaint alleging that the Nigerian neighbours killed him.
10 pm – 11 pm – Police register an FIR on the basis of the complaint. Five Nigerian neighbours detained.
11 am- 1 pm – A section of African nationals studying in Delhi NCR hold protests outside Kasna police station against the FIR and detention. Police do not find any evidence against five Nigerians and lets them off. Khari’s postmortem report says cause of death is unknown. His viscera is sent to a forensic lab in Agra for examination.
11.00 am – A section of locals from Greater Noida protest outside SSP office in Surajpur, demanding the arrest of Nigerians in the case.
12 pm – 1 pm – A delegation of protesters meet SSP and district administration
6 pm – Candlelight march by locals at Pari Chowk to demand arrests in the case begins. All routes to Pari Chowk barricaded.
7 pm – 8.30 pm – Protest turns violent. African nationals in Pari Chowk attacked. A Honda City car damaged. Mob enters Ansal Plaza, beats up two Nigerians.
8.30 – 9.00 pm – Those attacked are rushed to hospitals.
Police reports say at around 7 pm a group of four Nigerians were attacked by a mob near Ansal Plaza in Pari Chowk area. The SSP of Gautam Buddha Nagar, Dharmendra Singh said that the police have video coverage of the whole incident based on which five people who attacked Nigerian nationals have been arrested. In the wake of the incident, advisories were issued for African students to stay indoor and heavy security was deployed in the area in order to prevent further cases of violence.
The Ministry of External Affairs, on Tuesday, condemned the attack on the Nigerian nationals. The MEA issued a statement on Tuesday saying: “MJ Akbar spoke to the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, apprised him of steps being taken by local authorities for safety of Nigerian nationals,” adding that the incident is deplorable.
On Tuesday morning, Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after a foreign student tweeted asking her to “act fast” as living in Noida was becoming “life threatening issue” for Africans.
Sushma Swaraj later tweeted, “I have spoken to Adityanathji about (the) attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident.”
Meanwhile, a group of African students demanded protection in India claiming that the beating up of Nigerians was an incident of “hate crime”. They alleged that the incident was fueled by local youths who do not want Africans in their areas anymore. Samuel Jack, President of Association of African Students said that these incidents created an issue of safety concerns for African students who may not want to come to India for further studies anymore.
The police have filed cases against 600 unnamed persons and 44 named residents of the area. While in order to build trust among resident Africans, the senior police officers took out a flag march from Kasna police station to various parts of Greater Noida. The District Magistrate also held a meeting with representatives from Africans residing in the area, Resident Welfare Association, Bar Association.
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