Sushma says killing of Congo man not racial

'Goons also thrashed Indian bystanders'

Sushma says killing of Congo man not racial

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday claimed that the murder of Congolese student Masonda Ketada Oliver in South Delhi two weeks ago was not a racial crime.

“All criminal acts should not be construed as racial attacks. As the CCTV footage of the incident in question showed, this was an act committed by goons who also thrashed the Indian bystanders who had attempted to intervene to save Oliver,” she said after a meeting with African envoys and students in the national capital.

“India is the land of Gandhi and Buddha. We have fought consistently against racial discrimination. Mahatma Gandhi himself championed the cause of fighting against this evil. We can never have a racist mindset,” she noted.

Assuring prompt action on the part of the government, Sushma said these crimes were not premeditated acts against a particular community, rather spontaneous attacks perpetrated by anti-social and criminal elements.

Killing of Oliver on May 20 in a night-time brawl by three goons snowballed into a diplomatic crisis as several incidents of scuffles were reported in Delhi and Kinshasa, the capital of Congo. Out of the three criminals, Delhi Police arrested two while search is on for the third person.

Junior foreign minister V K Singh and MEA officials had several meetings with African diplomats and community leaders in Delhi to douse the fire.

The African delegation, which met Sushma, included Alem Tsehage Woldemariam, the Ambassador of Eritrea, who is also the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps besides the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, who is the Chair of the African Union’s Student Committee and Abdoulaye Brahim, head of the Association of African Students in India. They raised concerns over safety and security of the community.

On her part, Sushma assured the team that the government was working on a “major strategy” under which an institutional mechanism will be put in place to address their concerns. 

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