A Tanzanian woman was allegedly stripped and beaten on the streets of Bengaluru after a road accident where a Sudanese man ran over a local woman on Saturday night. The locals who dragged the Tanzanian woman and attacked her thought she was in some way connected to the accident. The three friends travelling with her in the same car were also beaten up, and the car set on fire, media reports said. The social media storm over this attack is a huge embarrassment for the Karnataka government which is wooing international investments at its Global Investors Meet that began on Wednesday.
Bengaluru Police have launched a manhunt for suspects.
"We have registered a case of riot and arson against the accused on victim's statement in which she reported of being assaulted in a mistaken identity by a mob on the outskirts of the city," city police commissioner N S Megharik told reporters in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
The police is denying reports that the victim was molested. Megharik said the African woman had admitted being only assaulted by a frenzied mob after her three male friends deserted her at Soladevanahalli where the car in which they were travelling was burnt.
"The incident occurred because the mob mistook the victim's car being involved in a road mishap on the same night (31 January) when a 20-year-old drunken Sudanese national (Mohammed Ahad Ismai) ran over a woman fatally. We arrested him after he was rescued from a raging mob," Megharik said.
"We have formed special teams to trap the culprits and render justice to the victim who declined to file complaint against the accused fearing attack again.
The victim's friends told police that on Sunday the furious mob had pulled them out of their car, assaulted them and molested her in which her clothes were torn.
Meanwhile, the city-based Tanzanian youth association decided to seek its embassy's help in registering an assault case and booking the culprits.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday described the attack as "shameful". The Hindureported that the Tanzanian students struggled to get their complaint registered and have approached their embassy to help out as the attack made world headlines. 'Indian mob strips, molests and beats Tanzanian student' read The Washington Post headline on Wednesday afternoon local time in the US.
The High Commission of Tanzania has requested the Government of India of follow up on the matter, reported India Today.
The road accident which led to the attack was allegedly caused by rash and drunk driving by a Sudanese student at Ganapathinagar off the Hesaraghatta Main Road in North Bengaluru where a number of African students live and study at local colleges. The region and its surrounding areas constantly see a clash of cultures between locals and African students who avail affordable accomodation facilities in housing colonies in the area, reported The Indian Express.
Expressing deep pain over the Sunday incident on microblogging site Twitter, Swaraj said she has sought a report from the Karnataka government and asked Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to ensure safety of foreign students. The Indian Express reports that the car was set on fire on the night of 31 January, after the fatal accident.
"We are deeply pained over the shameful incident with a Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru. I spoke to the chief minister Karnataka. He informed me that a criminal case has been registered and four accused have been arrested," Sushma Swaraj said.
"I have asked the chief minister to ensure safety and security of all foreign students and stringent punishment for the guilty. I have asked for immediate report from the Government of Karnataka," she said in her tweets.
Bangalore, often called India's Silicon Valley for being the hub of global software firms, is home to hundreds of foreign students, including 150 from Tanzania, reports BBC.
— CNN-IBN News (@ibnlive) February 3, 2016
— CNN-IBN News (@ibnlive) February 3, 2016
Will a certain Cong ldr b vistng #Bengaluru 4 photo-op with tanzanian victim of violence? bcoz tanzanians cnt vote n its his partys govt!
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar (@rajeev_mp) February 3, 2016
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) February 3, 2016
With inputs from IANS