We Might Call For a Boycott if Violence Continues: African Student
Nigerian students held a protest against the arrest and cannibalism charges on Sunday. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AssociationOfAfricanStudentsInIndia/">Association of African Students in India</a>)
Nigerian students held a protest against the arrest and cannibalism charges on Sunday. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Association of African Students in India)

We Might Call For a Boycott if Violence Continues: African Student

“If action is not taken against the attackers, this could spill over to other parts of the country. All we want is a fair investigation and for the government to ensure us safety,” Presidoe Okuguni, member of the Association of African Students in India (AASI), told The Quint on Tuesday. Okuguni further said that the association might consider a boycott if the violence continues.

Okuguni’s statements come hours after several African nationals were attacked and a Nigerian woman allegedly abducted in Greater Noida.

The past few days have been tense in the National Capital Region, ever since five Nigerian students were accused of cannibalism and booked for killing 19-year-old Manish Khari. Protests in the wake of these charges turned violent on Monday when the nationals were attacked.

Brutal Assault on African Nationals

On Monday evening, the Association of African Students in India posted a video of African nationals being attacked at Ansal Plaza in Greater Noida.

Five People Arrested in Connection With Monday’s Attack

The attack in Greater Noida’s mall led to five people being arrested by the police in Uttar Pradesh.

“Police had to use force to dissuade people from attacking, and arrested 5 people from the spot. Many of them who were there trying to create mischief have been identified as the entire event had been videographed. An FIR has been registered and action will be taken accordingly,” Daljit Chaudhary, ADG Law and Order, said.

The woman, who was reportedly abducted, was traced to a hospital in the night. Police chief Dharmendra Singh refuted the kidnapping claim and called it “a rumour to escalate tension in the area”.

Following the incident, Nigerian High Commission officials went to meet the injured nationals and said they felt “unsafe”. Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar spoke to the acting High Commissioner of Nigeria to discuss the steps being taken by the local authorities to ensure safety and security of Nigerian nationals.

MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the government is committed to ensuring safety and security of all foreigners in India and people from Africa, including students, who remain “our valued” partners.

Association For African Students Calls it “Hate Crime”, Police Denies it

Claiming that the Greater Noida incident was a “hate crime”, Association of African Students in India on Tuesday demanded that they be provided adequate security in the country.

“In Greater Noida, they (locals) say to Africans ‘we don’t want you to be here anymore’. These are actually hate crimes towards African community. Africans are not secure in this country,” Association of African Students President Samuel Jack said. They have also asked for better security for them in the country.

He said Africans may not come to India for studies due to safety concerns in the wake of such incidents.

Jack also told The Quint that the five Nigerian youths who were initially arrested and then released following Khari’s death have been taken by the Association of African Students to undisclosed locations due to security concerns.

Nagendra P Singh, Gautam Buddh Nagar DM, however, refuted the assertion that this is an instance of “hate crime.”

“Absolutely not a hate crime, neither is it some kind of anger against a race. Few people spread rumours regarding death of a youth which gave rise to anger. The incident happened in continuity of that,” he said.

Sushma Calls Yogi

On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about the row. The CM assured her a “fair and impartial investigation.”

How It All Started

It all started when a group of locals in the NSG Black Cat Enclave in Greater Noida allegedly barged into a flat that is occupied by Nigerian students and searched their refrigerator for the remains of Khari. Khari, who went missing on Friday, died in a private hospital on Saturday of “unknown poisoning,” according to The Telegraph.

The locals, suspecting cannibalism, not only searched the students’ house but some of them also maintained that Khari was kidnapped by a “dark-skinned person who forced him to inhale a substance that made him pass out”.

The Nigerian students were taken into custody after Khari’s parents registered an FIR against them. Consequently, Usman Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Amir, Saeed Kabir, Abdul Usman and Saeed Abu Waqar were booked for murder and causing hurt by means of any poisonous substance with the intent to commit an offence.

It was after students took to the streets on Sunday that the police released the students. Sujata Singh, Superintendent of Police (Greater Noida-Rural), said that the students “had to be released as there wasn’t any evidence against them”.

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