A Tanzanian girl and her friends were attacked and their car was torched by an angry mob in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on 31 January. The group of students were driving by an accident site where a Sudanese student's car ran over a local woman killing her when they were stopped and assaulted them.
The mob first beat up Mohammed Ahad Ismail who was involved in the accident before handing him over to the police. Later, when the Tanzanian students passed the scene, they were pulled out of their car and beaten up. The mob allegedly chased the 21-year-old girl. A senior police official confirmed that "her top was torn and removed, but there was no sexual assault".
According to The Hindu newspaper, the girl tried to escape by boarding a local bus but was pushed out by a passenger. Later, when angry locals set fire to their car, the students managed to escape.
The High Commission of Tanzania in India has sent a note verbale asking the Government of India to look into the matter and take necessary legal action.
Though the incident took place on Sunday, it came to light only on Tuesday after which the police intervened. "After the news appeared in a section of the local media on Wednesday, we asked her to lodge a complaint. We are now following all procedures, we are getting her medically examined," T R Suresh, deputy commissioner of police for north Bangalore, told BBC Hindi.
"We are now scared of every Indian around us after what happened to me," the student of a city college told the media at the hospital where she was taken for a medical test by police. According to the girl's statement, there was a police officer at the scene when the attack took place, yet nothing was done to help them.
"She's Tanzanian, the man who caused the accident comes from Sudan, they didn't even know each other," Bosco Kaweesi, Legal Adviser, All African Students Union in Bengaluru, told the Deccan Chronicle newspaper. "The entire African student community is still scared and reluctant to come out. Such incidents will have repercussions in Africa and innocent Indians who are in those countries will also face trouble from native Africans," he warned.
A number of students from various African countries come to Bangalore, considered the Silicon Valley of India, to pursue further studies but suffer racial ill-treatment from the locals.
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj condemned the incident on Twitter saying: "We are deeply pained over the shameful incident with a Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru (Bangalore). I spoke to the chief minister Karnataka. He informed me that a criminal case has been registered and four accused have been arrested."
Siddaramaiah, the chief minister of Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital, confirmed that five people have been arrested in connection with the attack and said action will be taken against officials found to be negligent.