GREATER NOIDA: Five people have been arrested in connection with attacks on African students in Greater Noida, sparking concern over their safety and prompting intervention by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who has promised immediate action.
While Swaraj spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after being approached by an African student who pleaded for action describing the situation as “life threatening”, her ministry termed these attacks as “deplorable”.
Four Nigerian students were attacked by a group of Greater Noida residents who took out a candle-light march on Monday after a 17-year-old boy Manish died last week in the NSG Black Cats Enclave due to suspected drug overdose.
The protest march was taken out after the police released some Nigerians detained for questioning in connection with death of Manish, a class 12 student, due to “lack of evidence”.
Following the incident, Nigerian High Commission officials went to meet the injured nationals and said they felt “unsafe”. A senior high commission official said the mission was in touch with the External Affairs Ministry on the issue.
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, remain “our valued” partners.
Noting that law enforcement authorities of the district have made arrests and are investigating the matter, he said, “They are also taking necessary steps to keep the situation under control.”
Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar spoke to the acting high commissioner of Nigeria here to discuss the steps being taken by the local authorities for safety and security of Nigerian nationals, Baglay said.
Earlier, in a series of tweets, Swaraj said, “I have spoken to Yogi Adityanath ji Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident (sic).”
She was responding to a tweet from a student who requested her to “act fast as living for us in Noida is becoming a life threatening issue”. Noting that the protesters became violent during the protest march and started beating up the Africans they saw on the road, Sujata Singh, Superintendent of Police, Greater Noida said, “They also went to Ansal Mall and caused havoc and beat up Africans there. The police then rescued them and moved them to a safe place,” she said.
“The police had to use force to dissuade people from attacking and arrested five people from the spot. Many of them who were there trying to play mischief have been identified as the entire event had been videographed,” Daljit Chaudhary, ADG Law and Order, told reporters in Greater Noida.
He said an FIR has been registered against nine people who have been named besides others, and action will be taken accordingly.