On 24 March, 2017, more than fifty people invaded a house where five African students stayed in Greater Noida, India. People were told that they were suspects in a case of kidnapping and murder. The accusation turned out to be false after the repeated searches and jailing of the African students. The incident turned a year old today.
During the time when Manish Khari, the 16 year old Indian boy was missing from his home in NSG Society in Sector Pi II, a rumour was floated that the Nigerian students had ‘eaten him.’ Neighbours and others barged into the residence of the African students to check if their refrigerator had remains of the missing boy.
The next day, Khari, who was said to have been kidnapped and killed was found in a park nearby and died after he was admitted to a hospital for what was suspected to be a case of drug overdose.
The Association of African Students in India (AASI) took out a march of protest following this demanding justice and verification of facts by the police before arresting any African Student. They demanded that African students not be arrested without prior investigation and also demanded that a case be registered against the family of the deceased boy for falsely accusing the African students. The police did not register an FIR based on this complaint.
The inmates of the residential complex were reported to have called the students ‘negroes.’ They believed that the students were cannibals and said that even the dogs that had gone missing from the enclave had been eaten by them.
After the African community came in support of the arrested students, the police let them off citing ‘lack of evidence.’ At the same time, residents of the area took out marches demanding action against the African students. Violence followed in which Africans were beaten up in various parts of Delhi and Noida. Some of them were admitted to hospitals and the government ordered a probe into the violence against the community. Five miscreants were arrested for the same.
A year later, there seem to be no answers or compensation for the mob violence that the African community faced. The cause of death of the 16 year old has not been ascertained nor has any links between the incident and the African students established.