Bengaluru, Feb 5: The issue relating to the assault on a Tanzanian woman at Bengaluru is turning out to be a full blown diplomatic issue. A team of the Ministry of External Affairs along with a Tanzanian envoy will visit Bengaluru on Friday to meet with students and assure them of their safety.
Bosco Kaweesi, the legal adviser of the All African Student's Association says that the students are worried, but will not leave the city. They are here to complete their education and will do so.
In Bengaluru city the issue is being viewed in two different ways. While the residents of Kamanahalli where the African student population is the highest have deplored the incident in which a woman was attacked on the other hand they have also been complaining about the behaviour of some of the students for long.
On Thursday the Home Minister of Karnataka, Dr G Parameshwar while addressing a packed presser said that they are doing everything to ensure the safety of the students from foreign countries. The probe into this deplorable incident has been handed over to the specialised City Crime Branch and already five persons have been arrested he said.
The minister also issued a subtle warning to those students who have been overstaying and said their embassies would be informed. He further requested them to also respect the locals.
The locals have frequently complained to the police about loud music, prostitution rackets, drug peddling and road rage. There have been a series of incidents involving Nigerians which have not gone down too well with the locals. In May 2012 a Nigerian was arrested for allegedly raping a Manipuri girl at a nursing college in Bengaluru.
In June 2015 six Nigerians were arrested for online fraud in the city. On July 6 2015, six Nigerian girls were arrested by the police after they assaulted a bus conductor. Two months back a couple of African students entered into a scuffle with the police at Kamanahalli when they tried to stop a party.
The residents had complained that the music was too loud and they were partying late into the night. Six years back one African student was arrested after he assaulted four cops near the M S Ramaiah college when he was stopped for rash driving.
We spoke to some of the locals about this issue. Speaking of the incident involving the Tanzanian girl, Vasudha a resident of Kamanahalli says that she shares her pain. It is not about an assault on a Tanzanian national.
We would have been pained if it had been anyone. Vasudha also adds that there have been complaints made by the residents about the activities of some African students. We hope that their envoy will also advise them to respect locals and the police here, she adds.
Cops are helpless at times
The latest incident is a classic example of how issues involving foreign nationals and students in particular can blow into a full fledged diplomatic issue. The African students are large in number and most of them are students. Educational institutions gain a lot from them.
The police however add that they are ready to provide all protection to them, but they too must learn to respect the locals and the law. The local laws apply to them, but each time we attempt to arrest anyone, they tell us that they want to talk with their embassy.
In most of the cases low ranking police officials let them go because they do not want to be answering New Delhi when the embassies of these students rake up the issue.
This case on hand is a classic example. The Tanzanian envoy has said in New Delhi that she was attacked because she was a black. The police has been trying to say that this was not a racial attack. The Karnataka Home Minister too said yesterday that the incident was not racist in nature.