Condemn the Role of Karnataka Police and Shameful Denial of the State Govt!
AISA strongly condemns the shocking racist attack on a Tanzanian woman student in Bangalore on (31st January, 2016) Sunday night.
According to eyewitnesses, the victim along with her five friends was traveling in a car and had the misfortune to reach the spot, where in an accident some 30 minutes before a woman was run over by a car driven by a Sudanese national. The Tanzanian girl and her friends, who had nothing to do with the earlier accident, were brutally targeted by the gathered mob. In a display of shameful lynch-mob racism, the students were forced out of the car and then the car was set ablaze. She was chased, assaulted, and had her clothes torn by the mob. The driver of the second car was beaten up black and blue by the mob, who then stripped the girl student. When someone from the crowd offered her a T-Shirt, that man too was beaten up by the mob. She later, with her torn clothes, tried to enter a BMTC bus that had slowed down nearby, but the passengers in the bus pushed her back down on to the road. According to one of the victims, people were streaming out from buses, auto-rickshaws and charging towards the victims, punching and kicking them.
The victims were in no way connected to the Sudanese man involved in the earlier accident. The two were not even of the same nationality — other than being, in the eyes of the mob, of the same colour and race as ‘African’. The attack on her is a clear case of lynch mob vigilantism purely based on the colour of her skin! What else is it other than racism?
Shocking Role of Police and State Machinery: The entire incident happened in the midst of considerable police presence, who were anyway there because of the earlier accident. But the police looked the other way and allowed this macabre incident to continue. When the victims reached the police station, there too police refused to file the FIR and it took two days till Tuesday for the complaint to be registered!
The Karnataka government is shamefully attempting to cover up the entire incident and trying to prove that it was not a racist attack. When you are targeted merely because of the colour of your skin, what is it if not racism? Rather than attempting to hide the facts, the government must acknowledge the truth because acknowledging the truth is the first step towards justice.
It is a shame that government’s ministers are making statements that it was not racism, but a reaction to the earlier accident! It is highly condemnable that the ruling class political establishment and law and order enforcing authorities have completely abdicated their responsibility by choosing to sanitise the lynch-mob racism rather than sensitise the society at large about the abominable racist character of the crime!
Deep Seated Racism: Such attacks on African people have been witnessed repeatedly in Delhi as well. We protested against a similar incident of mob-violence on African women in Delhi’s Khirki village, which happened with encouragement from the then AAP minister Somnath Bharti against Ugandan and Nigerian women who were accused of prostitution and drug peddling. They, too, were humiliated like the Tanzanian student in Bangalore. Earlier in Delhi, we witnessed a similar incident at the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, where three youth were brutally attacked by a mob because they objected to being photographed without consent.
It may be recalled how in 2012 thousands of migrant people from the Northeast were forced to flee from Bangalore, terrorised by a concerted hate campaign carried out through SMSes and the social media. We have also seen how the people from the North-East have borne the brunt of the so-called “mainstream’s” violent persecution in the national capital.
While metro cities are showcased as hallmarks of ‘modernity’, we witness such regressive attitudes towards women and people of different ethnicities. From social ostracisation and institutional murder of a Dalit scholar in ‘Cyberabad’ to the spate of racist, misogynist and communal attacks in ‘India’s silicon valley’ Bengaluru – the pathological realities of ‘Digital India’ claims stand exposed.
From matrimonial ads to frenzied propagation of “fairness” creams and skin-whitening creams, words like “kaala” (Black) are used in our country as insults, robbing people of their self worth and dignity. And this despite the fact that India itself had been at the receiving end of colour dominance since colonial times. The silence on racism, casteism and misogyny needs to be broken.
We express deepest solidarity with the Tanzanian students, who had to face such a nightmare, in their fight for justice and dignity! Karnataka govt and police cannot be allowed to go scot free for their inaction and denial!