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Racist attack: Nine arrested for assaulting Tanzanian girl; BJP denies party member's involvement

After Thursday's arrest of five people suspected of assaulting a Tanzanian woman in Bengaluru, news reports now suggest that one of the accused involved in the mob attack was a BJP leader. Reports on Friday said that police arrested four more in connection with the case, bringing the total number of arrests to nine.

According to Hindustan Times, Lokesh Bangari, a sitting member of the Chikkabanavara Gram Panchayat was arrested by the police for being part of the mob that beating up and stripping the woman and then parading her naked.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Meanwhile, BJP has denied involvement of any party member. “There are more than 30 lakh members in our party. As far as we know he is not a member. People claiming that he belongs to our party should produce his membership number,” party spokesperson S Prakash said dismissing the claim.

Tanzania’s High Commissioner to India John Kijazi on Thursday told The Indian Express that the girl was attacked because “she was black”, and that the incident had “an element of racism” mixed with mob justice.

According to NDTV reports, Kijazi will travel to Bengaluru on Friday along with senior Indian Foreign Ministry officials to inquire into the attack.

Police Commissioner NS Megharik on Thursday had confirmed that five people had been arrested in the case, He had told IANS, "We have arrested the five accused after interrogating them on Wednesday night under detention in the case registered on the victim's statement in a road rage incident."

The commissioner, however, did not disclose names and age of the five accused.

The 21-year-old Tanzanian woman student was allegedly beaten up and stripped by a mob in a case of "mistaken identity" after a woman was mowed down by a car in Bengaluru.

She was reportedly dragged out of the car in which she was seated along with her three friends when she reached the accident spot mistaking them to have caused the fatal accident though a Sudanese was involved in it, police said.

The incident on Sunday night took a serious diplomatic turn, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said five men had been arrested and that Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj spoke to him. A report would be sent to her, he had said.

"Case has been registered, five of them (accused) have been arrested. Sushma Swaraj also spoke to me, I will also be sending her a report through my chief secretary," he had told reporters at "Invest Karnataka 2016", a global investors meet.

Swaraj had described it as a "shameful incident" and spoken to Siddaramaiah, seeking stringent punishment for the guilty, while the High Commission of Tanzania had sent a Note Verbale to the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue.

Voicing concern over the incident, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had sought a report from the Karnataka government, according to party general secretary Digvijay Singh, in charge of Congress affairs in the state.

Singh tweeted: "Rahul Gandhi asks Karnataka Govt to explain and send report immediately," Singh said in a series of tweets.

Union Law and Justice Minister DV Sadananda Gowda also said the attack came as an embarrassment for the nation and the Karnataka Government has to take stringent measures, reports DNA.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Feb 05, 2016 14:13 PM

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