NEW DELHI India (Xinhua)
-- The recent news of attacks on African
students in the northern Indian city of Greater Noida near Delhi
have apparently exposed the harsh reality of "racism" rooted in this
Some four Nigerian students were attacked by a mob
after a young boy died reportedly of drug overdose, with his parents
and relatives suspecting Africans to be the drug suppliers.
While India responded swiftly and promised action against the
perpetrators, the attacks exposed the discriminatory nature of
people based on race and colour, say experts.
"The attacks were so gruesome that the African envoys also
condemned them, calling them xenophobic and racial.
This means no good for India, which now caters to a huge number
of African students in the area of education," said Prof Ajay Singh,
a Delhi-based expert.
In fact, after its independence, India emerged as the hand of
hope for Africans, especially its young population.
As per the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, Africa is among the
top 10 nations that sends large number of students annually to
Students from African countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and
Sudan, among others come to India at a growing annual rate of more
than 10 percent to study medicine, social sciences and management.
As per the Association of African Students in India, there are
about 25,000 African students in India, a fifth of who live in and
around the national capital.
Not only do the students come with hope for a better future here,
but also a belief that they will be accepted.
However, the reality is different.
"India was a land of my dreams.
"It is the destination for higher education for us.
"Back home, we look forward to coming to India, learn something
and take it back to our country.
"However, my experience has been a very difficult one.
"I have been teased, abused, cheated and discriminated here.
"I want to go back now," said Alfred Aguim, an African student.
Experts recalled the special bond that India and Africa have
"It was in 1893 when these relations were cemented based on the
experiences of a young lawyer from India who was thrown out of a
train in South Africa based on his race.
"The lawyer was so moved at this racial discrimination that it
changed the course of his life," said Prof Singh.
"He stood against exclusion on the basis of race and colour and
became a ray of hope for people around the world.
"Mahatma Gandhi, as he later came to be known as, also became a
campaigner for non-violence after this incident.
"For those who were abused and excluded because of their colour,
Gandhi represented hope for an equal world," he added.
Another international affairs expert S.K. Gupta said:
"A century later, Africans across the world continue to view
India as the land of Gandhi. India also played a crucial role in not
only ideologically supporting Africa’s independence but also
accepting its people as its own."
"Till today, India-Africa relationship stands strong politically,
economically and ideologically, cemented by Gandhi’s philosophy and
Nelson Mandela’s struggle against racism that inspired the world,"
In fact, India had strongly supported Mandela’s fight against
"Mandela, who was inspired all his life by Gandhi, had famously
said that India deserved a place of glory among Africa’s closest
allies whose contribution to the abolishment of apartheid and the
making of South Africa particularly was undeniable and immeasurable.
Colour, however, continues to attract scorn and things are no
different with African women.
"When I move around Delhi, I am aware of the stares, of
eve-teasers and words being said. But I choose to keep quiet.
"This is how life has been here for me.
"But after these attacks, I fear going out of the house," said
Monica Moeka, a Nigerian student studying at Noida International
The NIU is itself a symbol of hope that education in India holds
for international students, especially Asians. Nearly 1,000 students
from different African countries are estimated to study here.
After the attacks however, some students were wary of attending
"I have had a mixed experience in Delhi.
"Some of my friends accept me as I am, but there are others who
link us with drugs and our women with prostitution.
"It is frustrating sometimes," a Kenyan student Cisse-Mady said.
Drugs and prostitution are the most common allegations used
against the African community in India.
"Due to their colour and distinct facial features, African
continue to be excluded and harassed.
"They are refused accommodation and end up being ghettoized which
only adds to their troubles.
"These are signals of inherent racism and prejudices prevalent in
the minds of the people which can only be addressed by sustained
political and social efforts," said Prof Gupta.
However, India has a lot to lose if these attacks continue.
This impact will not only be seen in the education sector.
A significant affect could be felt in India-Africa trade
relations as well which have been growing at an opportune rate of 25
percent in the last few decades.
In January, India had also hosted the India-Africa business
summit to encourage investment in Africa and to help the continent’s
Attacks like these and the continued stereotyping of Africans
could push them out of the country and seek better opportunities
across other Asian countries.
Therefore, a stronger response is required from both the
government and the civil society to address these concerns, said
African envoys hit out at
India for racial attacks on Nigerian students near Delhi
NEW DELHI India (Xinhua) --
African envoys in Delhi Monday called the recent mob
attacks on some Nigerian students near the national capital as
"racial" and "xenophobic acts", and also slammed India for failing
to adequately condemn the violent incident.
In a statement, the heads of African missions said that "no
known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken" by the
"These reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved
cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the
Indian authorities," the group said as it agreed to "call for an
independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as
other human rights bodies".
The mob attack on the Nigerian students took place last Monday
evening and it coincided with a protest that was organized by online
groups who blamed the unexplained death of a teenage student on the
The protesters had alleged that the student, identified as Manish
Khari, was supplied drugs by Africans who live in the area.
India has described the attack on Nigerian students as
"deplorable" and said it is committed to ensuring the safety and
security of all foreigners in this country.
"People from Africa, including students and youth, remain our
valued partners," the External Affairs Ministry has said.
Some seven people have been arrested by police in connection with
the mob attack so far, police have said, adding that efforts are on
to arrest the other suspects.
Attacks on Africans in and around Delhi is not uncommon.
Last year, several Nigerians were beaten up in Delhi’s Chhatarpur