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Reuters/Krishnendu Halder
Mob fury.
BRUTAL ATTACK

A Tanzanian woman says she was stripped and beaten by an angry mob in India’s Silicon Valley

Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

An African woman was reportedly brutally assaulted by an angry mob in India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, last week.

On Jan. 31, a 21-year-old Tanzanian student was allegedly stripped, beaten and paraded naked by a mob in north Bengaluru, The Indian Express newspaper reported. The incident took place after a local woman was run over by a Sudanese man, apparently driving under the influence of alcohol. The Tanzanian national is an undergraduate student at Bengaluru’s Acharya College.

Enraged by the car accident, the mob attacked the Tanzanian woman, who was reportedly passing by the accident site. The unruly crowd—of between 200 and 300 people, according to some reports—then dragged her out of the car and assaulted her, The Indian Express reported. They also torched the car she was travelling in, and that of the Sudanese driver.

“It was mistaken identity,” Bengaluru police commissioner NS Megharikh told PTI. “We have taken up the case for assault on the woman.” Her statement has been recorded, he added.

A police case was registered today (Feb. 03) after local media reported the incident, quoting an African students’ association in Bengaluru. “We were shocked by media reports on Wednesday and we summoned the victim to know what exactly happened,” Bengaluru’s deputy commissioner of police (north division) T R Suresh said told The Indian Express. “We have added suitable sections of the Indian Penal Code to the FIR that was registered earlier based on the complaint that her car was set afire. We need to investigate the case to find out the truth.”

The All African Students association had alleged that the police did not intervene to stop the assault.

North Bengaluru’s Hesaraghatta, where the incident took place, has a sizeable number of African students, who are drawn to the area because of its affordable accommodation, The Indian Express reported.

Bengaluru, the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, is home to offices of some of the world’s largest technology companies like Google, Yahoo, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon. The city also has nearly 30% of the country’s technology startups.

This is not the first incident of Africans facing mob rage in India. In October 2014, three African students were beaten relentlessly by a mob at a metro station in Delhi for allegedly misbehaving with a woman.

In early 2014, four African women were allegedly molested by men accompanying Delhi’s then law minister Somnath Bharti. The minister, along with those accompanying him, had reportedly conducted a mid-night raid on a colony where some African students lived. Bharti had claimed that he suspected a “drug and prostitution” racket on the premises of the building they raided. However, medical tests on the women found no trace of drugs in their systems.

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