In a strong reaction to attacks on African nationals in the national capital region, heads of African missions in India have termed the incidents as "xenophobic and racial" while alleging that the government took no "known, sufficient and visible" deterrent action.
Denouncing the attack on Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida, the envoys agreed to call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the Commission of the African Union.
In a strongly-worded press release, the African envoys, who recently held a "special" meeting on the incidents growing incidents of attack on African nationals, said they expected a strong condemnation of the attacks at the highest political level, both nationally and locally, indicating their disappointment over lack of response from the Prime Minister and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, it said.
The press release dated March 31 from the office of the Dean of the African Group Head of the Missions here said the meeting was convened to look into the recent attacks against African students in Greater Noida.
The statement read: "As regards the recent unfortunate incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Mission strongly condemn the incident and express their deep concern and also take note that these reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities. The meeting unanimously agreed that those reaccumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature."
The envoys -- representing 54 countries of the African continent -- reviewed the incidents that have taken place in the past and concluded that no "known, sufficient and visible" deterrent measures were taken by the Indian government, it said.
Condemning the attacks, they expressed their deep concern and noted that these "reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresolved cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities".
In their joint statement, the African Heads of Mission said they reviewed previous such incidents of attacks on African nationals "and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India".
"They equally expressed their expectations for strong condemnation from the highest political level (both nationally and locally) of the Government of India, as well expediting legal actions against the perpetrators," the statement said.
"They agreed to take further actions including the call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the African Union Commission," it concluded.
The attack on four Nigerian students took place on March 27 night in Greater Noida, some 40 km from the Indian capital, following protests over the death of a Class 12 student of a residential colony there due to drug overdose. Some people who were holding a candle-light vigil for the student attacked the Nigerians, suspecting them of drug-running.
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".
The day after the incident, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay had described the incident as "deplorable" and in his weekly media briefing on March 30 said: "It is clear that such criminal acts are completely unacceptable and have been condemned."
He had said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken to Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath about this while Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar spoke to the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria.
"Law enforcement authorities of the district have made arrests and a large number of people are under watch. The investigation is on and the law of the land will prevail," Baglay stated.