New Delhi, April 7th, 2017: Brutal assaults on as many as nine Africans last month after a string of attacks on African nationals in the country in the last two years have led the heads of African missions to issue a stinging rebuke. They have called the attacks racial and xenophobic in nature and have said that ‘No known, visible or deterrent measures were taken by the Government of India’.
This week on Off Centre, Anuradha Sengupta spoke to Samuel Jack who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Political Science at Delhi University and is also the President of the African Students Association of India. He shared his experience of being an African in India.
On the government’s attitude, he said, “Implementation on the ground is a huge difference. Police have also been a part of our problem. When we go to the police station to complain as an African and if an Indian is there, they say ok we will pick up the matter, but they won’t even let us write the FIR in the first place. They will let the Indian write the FIR, they let them go and then we become the accused and victim and then they put you in jail. That is the problem we are facing with the police.”
When asked whether Indian education is worth it, he said, “To me, it is not worth it because the most important thing anywhere you go today in the society is acceptance. If you are accepted you can live freely and engage with the community, you can get a larger sense of what is happening. But when you are confined to these kind of boundaries or social barriers you find it difficult to live.”
Samuel Jack added that the social behaviour towards Africans here in India is heart-breaking. He said that even though he has friends in college and class, no one has ever asked him that ‘Sam can I come over to your place to spend time with you.’ Where he lives currently, he does not have any interaction with his neighbours. He wondered what would happen if he was in danger or had any emergency. “My neighbours are the first people I would contact, but we do not have that interaction”, he said.
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