New Delhi [India], Apr. 5 (ANI): In wake of the attack on the four African men in Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida last month being attributed to racism, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said it wasn't right to link the case with racism before the probe was over.
"It's not right to connect the assault with racism before the probe ends. I said this in context of attacks in the United States too," Swaraj said while speaking on the issue in Lok Sabha.
"An Indian was killed in Mozambique. We did not say it was inspired by racism. There was a murder before that. We did not say that it was inspired by racism. Therefore, it is ours to say that every criminal act or every violent act is not motivated by racism," she added.
Swaraj was referring to the incident where four Nigerian students were brutally assaulted after a protest over the death of a 17-year-old spilled over to Ansal Plaza mall in Greater Noida. The boy died of suspected drug overdose and his family alleged that their Nigerian neighbours had kidnapped and murdered him.
"It was said by the Dean that the political leadership is silent or no work has been done by it. This is wrong," Swaraj said.
"You can't say our steps are inadequate. We are committed to ensuring security of all foreigners in India," she said while addressing the concerns raised over the safety of foreigners in the country.
"We are constantly working for security of African nationals. We told him calling us 'xenophobic' and then saying you will go to Human Rights Council was not right," she added.
A day before, the Heads of Missions of African countries in India slammed physical attacks on their compatriots as "xenophobic and racial" in nature, saying the government in New Delhi took no "known, sufficient and visible" deterrent action despite such incidents happening in the past.
In a strongly-worded press statement, the envoys of 44 African nations, had called for an independent investigation by the UN Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies.
Terming this as "unfortunate, painful and surprising", Swaraj said she was disappointed with what the African envoys had remarked.
"I am surprised and disappointed with what the Dean said, hence I called him today. We told him that if you weren't satisfied, you should've asked for meeting with the Prime Minister," she said.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had earlier said it was unfortunate to term the criminal act on Nigerian nationals.
MEA added that India was committed to ensuring safety and security of all the foreign nationals in the country, including African nationals.
MEA's reaction came after Dean of African Head of Missions (HOM) termed the attacks as 'xenophobic.' (ANI)