New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that it is unfortunate to term the criminal act on Nigerian nationals in UP's Greater Noida, which was triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances, as 'xenophobic and racial.'
MEA added that India is committed to ensuring safety and security of all the foreign nationals in the country, including African nationals, who remain our valued partners.
MEA's reaction comes after Dean of African Head of Missions (HOM), in a statement, termed the recent attacks against African students as 'racial and xenophobic.'
"We have seen the statement by the Eritrean Ambassador to India, who is also the Dean of the African Head of Missions, apparently issued on their behalf. it is unfortunate that a criminal act triggered following the untimely death of a young Indian student under suspicious circumstances has been termed as xenophobic and racial," MEA said in a statement.
"Investigations on the death of Indian teenager and the subsequent incident by local authorities are ongoing," the statement further read.
The Indian Government had condemned and described the attack on 4 Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida as 'unacceptable.'
MEA said the significance attached to addressing the matter is reflected in the detailed statement by the External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj and the discussion in the Parliament.
Local authorities had expeditiously arrested suspects following Swaraj's conversation with the Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh immediately after the incident.
Police had registered an FIR and are investigating the matter comprehensively.
Local authorities have also taken measures to strengthen safety and security of the Nigerian nationals.
Ministry of External Affairs has further sensitised the local authorities towards ensuring safety and security of Africans in general and African students in particular.
"It may be noted that a subsequent report of assault on a Kenyan national has been withdrawn and the Government has been informed by Kenyan High Commission that the concerned Kenyan national, whose tourist visa has expired, is returning to Kenya. Nevertheless, the Kenyan High Commission has expressed appreciation for prompt response by local police authorities on her complaint," MEA said.
Earlier, dubbing the recent violence against African students in India as 'Xenophobic,' Heads of African missions in India called for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies into these incidents.
The envoys also expressed disappointment that these acts of violence were not "sufficiently condemned by the Indian Authorities."
The development comes after four Nigerian nationals were thrashed by the locals in Greater Noida last week when a Class 12 student in NSG Black Cats Enclave died due to suspected drug overdose, which the locals blamed on the Nigerian students.
However, according to sources, a very small number of African HOMs may have been consulted in the issuance of the press release by the African HOM Dean and also some of the prominent African HoMs denied that they attended the reported meeting or were consulted....