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Sunday, 2 April 2017

We Were Blocked From Escaping After Mob Suddenly Viciously Attacked Us - Nigerian brothers in India

Two Nigerian siblings thrashed by a mob inside a Greater Noida mall, India, last Sunday, suffered facial injuries and minor fractures but have been ruled out of danger by doctors. Endurance Amarawa (21) and Precious Amarawa (24) attacked by scores of people who were enraged by the death of 17-year-old student Manish Khari who died of a suspected drug overdose. Residents say that Khari procured drugs from the Africans residing in Greater Noida. 

The brothers were among five Africans arrested by the police in connection with the teenager’s death but released because of lack of proof. “On Sunday evening, we were shopping in Ansal Plaza when suddenly a mob attacked us viciously. When we tried to enter a showroom to save ourselves, the staff refused to let us inside,” said Precious. 

“They kept beating us viciously, hurling abuses at us, “ said Endurance. Endurance is a first year BA-LLB student at Noida International University (NIU). His brother Precious has been pursuing political science from NIU for the past two years. A video put out by the Association of African Students in India shows a mob ganging up on a man – identified as Endurance– and kick and punch him repeatedly inside Greater Noida’s Anzal Plaza mall. The video – which couldn’t be independently verified by HT – shows a man trying to fend off a torrent of blows from the mob, which repeatedly hits him with sticks, stools and trash cans. The video doesn’t show anyone trying to stop the attackers from beating up the man, who tries to escape unsuccessfully. The following day, Monday, a protest march by residents turned violent as people assaulted several Africans at Greater Noida’s busy Pari Chowk. Rumours startled swirling that residents had abducted a Nigerian woman – a speculation denied by police. The waves of violence have left the foreigners rattled. 
Recounting the Monday incident, a paan kiosk owner, Rohit Sharma, told HT that hundreds of men carried out a candle march to Pari Chowk and sat at the junction for over an hour. As dusk fell, a few men were seen raising slogans against Nigerian nationals and turned furious at the sight of them. 

Sharma said, “The protesters caught hold of a Nigerian national in front of gate no. 2 of Ansal Plaza and thrashed him. Then the mob barged into the shopping complex and roughed up two more inside. They threw soft drink bottles and also used a dustbin to attack them. A Honda City sedan was damaged by the mob in front of the shopping complex. Kasna SHO Avnish Dixit said, “Following the scuffle last evening, we have taken all necessary steps to ensure safety of African nationals. The police kept vigil all night to control the situation.” “We had also held a few persons responsible for violence and disruption and due course of action is being taken,” the police officer said. Tight security, cops assure action Meanwhile, the Greater Noida police stepped up security in the city against the backdrop of racial attacks. At least 200 additional police personnel were deployed in all sectors of Greater Noida, with special instructions issued to secure residential societies with African population. After the racial attacks, an uneasy calm prevailed at violence-hit Pari Chowk and Ansal Plaza shopping complex on Tuesday morning, while the policemen were seen gearing up to take charge of the day. 

Additional men were called from other police stations in Kasna, Knowledge Park and Surajpur where tempers still run high, as most of the African nationals stay in nearby localities. “A strict vigil was in place throughout the night, and several teams of police are deployed at different junctions in Greater Noida to observe movement of people,” said an intelligence officer. We won’t be bullied by assailants – Nigerian students after attacks Separately, African students living in Greater Noida said they faced daily prejudice and were living in fear after the two days of violence targeted at them. The students – who hail from various nations in Africa – allege political pressure behind the attacks amid rising tensions between local residents and the foreigners. “We come to India to live in peace but we will not be bullied by force or violence. The need of the hour is for African students to unite against this blatant racism,” said Lawrence, a Nigerian national. “We have been living in a sense of fear as there is no protection for us even after the attack,” said Bukola, a commerce student at IEC college. Lawrence said the attacks were well-planned. “We had assembled at Kasna Police Station on Monday morning demanding the release of five students who had been arrested without proper investigation. As soon as the detainees got bail and we left the spot, several African nationals were attacked by the local people,” said Lawrence. The Association of African Students in India (AASI) also condemned the attack and have also asked the central government to ensure that the community got protection in the national capital region. The government has also sought a report and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has assured foreign minister Sushma Swaraj of a “fair and impartial investigation”. More than 4,000 Africans stay in Greater Noida and study in a clutch of private universities and colleges that have come up in the area over the past decade. But many of them say that they feel uncomfortable at the hostile attitude of locals, who see the Africans as the source of crime and drugs. “For now, we have decided to drop our protest against racist attacks by locals. Further course of action will be decided soon,” said Bukola.


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