Tanzanian Student Stripped And Assaulted In New Delhi, India
A Tanzanian student has alleged that she was disrobed and assaulted by a several men in Bangalore following a fatal accident with which she had nothing to do, prompting the Indian foreign minister to express “deep pain”.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s comments came after Tanzanian high commissioner in New Delhi John Kijaze complained about the assault to the ministry of external affairs.
“We are deeply pained over the shameful incident…,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted. “I have asked the chief minister to ensure safety and security of all foreign students and stringent punishment for the guilty,” she said in another tweet.
The 21-year-old Tanzanian, a second-year student of BBA in Bangalore, was allegedly molested by the mob that went on a rampage in Hesarghatta in north Bangalore after a car said to have been driven by a Sudanese national ran over a 35-year-old woman.
The young woman has alleged in her police complaint she was passing by the spot more than 30 minutes after the accident on Sunday night.
The mob stopped the Wagon R in which she and four other African friends were travelling. She was allegedly dragged out of the car, stripped and beaten.
She told the police that she tried to escape by boarding a bus but the mob pulled her out and thrashed her again.
Bosco Kaweesi, who heads the African Students Union in Bangalore, said the young woman had nothing to do with the Sudanese man who allegedly caused the accident.
“The mob beat up all the five occupants but was particularly harsh on this girl who was badly beaten up as the crowd watched,” said Kaweesi.
The car was torched by the mob. Kaweesi said the students lost their personal belongings like passports, ATM cards and mobile phones in the fire that gutted the car. “They couldn’t even call their parents back home since they had no phones,” he said.
He alleged that some goons were out to attack African students. “This will eventually have serious repercussions in African states and gangs could attack innocent Indians who live there,” he warned.
PTI quoted Kaweesi as saying the police were “not so helpful” when they were approached.
T.R. Suresh, deputy commissioner of police (Bangalore North), said the Tanzanian girl’s complaint had been taken into cognizance. A case has been filed against unknown persons under IPC sections dealing with physical and sexual assault.
Once, the Bangalore suburbs did not reach up to Hesarghatta. But over the years, it has become an affordable residential hub. A large of number of students, especially African nationals, live in the area, located 20km north of Bangalore Railway Station.
Sushma telephoned Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah this evening to ask for stepped-up security in areas of Bangalore where large groups of foreign students live.
The chief minister, she said, had told her that the police had arrested four men accused of stripping the Tanzanian student and burning her car.
The foreign ministry’s reaction coincides with growing attempts by the Narendra Modi government to enhance ties with Africa, and demonstrate sensitivity while trying to increase India’s footprint on the continent. India hosted the third India-Africa Forum Summit last October, inviting all 54 African nations for the first time. Over 30 heads of state and government attended.
In January, India also hosted a hydrocarbons conference with African nations in New Delhi, trying to stitch together deals in oil and gas with multiple countries.