New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday continued her ministry's attempts to pacify African envoys and students by meeting a group of them but insisted that the recent “barbaric” murder of a Congolese national was not a racial crime but rather a crime committed by goons “who also thrashed the Indian bystanders who had attempted to intervene to save" the man.
Hailing India as the land of Gandhi and the Buddha, she said that “we can never have a racist mindset”. Ms. Swaraj said “these were not premeditated acts against a particular community, rather these were spontaneous attacks perpetrated by anti-social and criminal elements”, adding that “all criminal acts should not be construed as racial attacks”.
The Minister revealed that the Government was working on an “elaborate plan” and “major strategy” to carry out a sensitisation plan to prevent any incidents of conflict between Africans and locals and that an “institutional mechanism” would be put in place.
Thanking African students for calling off their protest on Tuesday following assurances by the MEA, she said that “recent incidents relating to members of the African community are not only very unfortunate, but also very painful”, adding, “As a mother, I can understand the pain of a mother who loses a son on foreign soil. It would be a traumatic experience.”