New Delhi: Seeking to play down the recent row over his remarks that people of Goa in general are unhappy with Nigerians, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday said all foreigners, including Nigerians, are welcome in the state which is committed to providing security to everyone.
"Goa is a tourist state. How can we ask someone not to come or ban them? Everyone is welcome in Goa - be it Nigerians or Africans. We will provide security to everyone," he told reporters after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Parsekar, however, said there might be one or two incidents involving a few Nigerians but for that a generalised opinion cannot be formed.
"We can't generalise about all Nigerians or Africans for that matter," he said. On 30 May, Parsekar had sparked a controversy by saying in Panaji that "in general, people are angry with Nigerians and not other foreigners. I feel they (Nigerians) have a different attitude".
The CM was responding to a question on recent allegations of rape against a Nigerian national in Goa and racial attacks in Delhi. "We get people from all other countries, but in general the people of Goa are very much annoyed with their behaviour,
attitude, their way of life...because on many occasions I hear complaints against Nigerians," Parsekar had said.
His remarks drew flak from opposition Congress which alleged that it reflected the "racist attitude" of the BJP government. The Chief Minister said today that he discussed with Rajnath Singh the forthcoming BRICS summit to be held in Goa in October.
"There will be 8,000 to 10,000 delegates but we have a very small airport. I have requested the Home Minister to enhance the
immigration and other facilities for the benefit of the visiting foreign guests from the five BRICS nations," he said.