In a new wave of violent attacks, Nigerian students have become a target in India.
The latest attacks in Noida, a town in Uttar Pradesh state, which saw five Nigerians beaten and badly wounded by a mob on Monday (Mar. 27) because of their link to the death of an Indian student. The 19-year old Indian allegedly died after a drug overdose and the victim’s parents as well as the community have blamed Nigerian students in the area for supplying the drugs resulting in a backlash. But local police say the cause of the student’s death remains unknown. The Nigerian students were initially accused of cannibalism, with their fridges searched for the body of the dead local, Huffington Post India reports.
Following the attacks, Sushma Swaraj, India’s external affairs minister, has promised a “fair and impartial investigation.”
Similarly, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs has tweeted that the “disturbing” incident is being investigated. For most part, the recent attacks have been met with public criticism and outrage by Indians. Over the past 24 hours, Indians have taken to social media to decry the violence and show support to affected students.
It’s not the first time African students have been attacked in India over the past year. In February 2016, two policemen were suspended and several arrests were made after a mob attacked a Tanzanian student in Bangalore. Last May, in a high profile incident, a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo was beaten to death by Indian men in Delhi following an argument. In another incident in Hyderabad, also last May, an Indian man was arrested following an attack on a Nigerian student.
To ease current tensions, the Association of African Students of India has reportedly asked African students in Noida to stay indoors. But that solution poses another problem as some students are being asked by landlords to vacate their flats.