New Delhi: The government on Thursday “unequivocally” condemned the attack on a Tanzanian woman in Bengaluru as foreign minister Sushma Swaraj chaired a high-level meeting seeking to address the issue of safety of African students in the country.
The foreign ministry will dispatch a team of senior officials to Bengaluru to review the situation after the attack evoked a sharp response from Tanzanian high commissioner John Kigazi, who asked the government to ensure the safety of Africans in India.
The high commissioner and a member of the Indian Council of Cutural Relations will accompany the foreign ministry team to Bengaluru. Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said the incident was a matter of shame and that racial discrimination would not be tolerated in the country even as the home ministry and the National Commission for Women (NCW) sought reports from the Karnataka government. As the matter snowballed, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi too sought a report from the party-led state.
Terming the incident “isolated”, foreign minsitry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said it was the result of a “chain reaction” following a road accident in which a woman was killed.
“We condemn this incident unequivocally. We will extend full cooperation to investigation of this case and stringent punishment will be given to the perpetrators. We have assured our African friends that necessary legal action will be taken. We will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of African students in India,” Swarup said. Tanzanian high commissioner Kigazi, who is the dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, has dubbed the attack racist.
Rijiju condemned the assault and said, “For 200 years, India was enslaved by foreigners. We have been fighting racial discrimination. But in India itself, if there is racial discrimination, the government will take it very seriously. We will not allow racial discrimination to take place in the country. This is a matter of shame for the entire nation.”