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BJP leader Tarun Vijay says no racism in India as 'we're used to living among South Indians'

Following a spate of suspected hate crimes against African nationals in Greater Noida that shocked the world, political leaders have sought to play down the reputation of Indians as racist. However, BJP leader Tarun Vijay has only courted further controversy by appearing to suggest South Indians are "black people".

File image of Tarun Vijay. AFP

File image of Tarun Vijay. AFP

According to Scroll, Tarun Vijay made the comments while giving an interview to Al-Jazeera. Vijay's remarks purportedly claimed that Indians are unlikely to be racist, as they are used to "living among black people". "If we were racist, why would... all the entire South — you know, Kerala, Tamil, Andhra, Karnataka — why do we live with them? We have blacks... black people around us," he said.

He went on to say that not only are Indians not inherently racist, but they were also among the first people in the world to "oppose racism". "Indians were first to oppose any racism and were, in fact, victims of the racist British," he said, according to the Scroll report.

He further added that despite having people of different colours and cultures, Indians have remained free of racism.

Soon after the interview aired, however, Vijay faced a barrage of criticism against him, with many claiming his analogy was not only incorrect and illogical, but it only belied his own inherent racism.

However, Vijay soon appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone, saying his remarks were misconstrued and he didn't mean to say South Indians are black.

The NCR region, especially Greater Noida has witnessed violent attacks against students of African origin. On 28 March, five Nigerian students were brutally assaulted by mobs who blamed them for drug running following the death of a teen due to suspected drug overdose.

The Ministry of External Affairs called the incident "deplorable", and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and he had assured her of a "fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident".

Two days later, a Kenyan woman was thrashed by some unidentified men in Greater Noida. The woman was inside an autorickshaw when some unidentified men pulled her out and started misbehaving with her. The men beat her up when she tried to shout for help. She informed the police, who took her to a local hospital.

Greater Noida, which houses numerous colleges and universities where thousands of foreign nationals study, has witnessed a spurt in violence against Africans.

Updated Date: Apr 07, 2017 16:31 PM

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