NEW DELHI, March 28 (Xinhua) -- India Tuesday described Monday's mob attack on Nigerian students in the northern city of Greatern Noida near Delhi as "deplorable," vowing to ensure the safety and security of all foreigners in this country.
India's junior foreign minister M.J. Akbar has spoken to the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, explaining the steps that are being taken by local authorities for the "safety and security of Nigerian nationals," the Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry's response came hours after Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured a thorough probe into the mob attack on the Nigerian students even as police claimed to have arrested seven people in connection with the incident.
Swaraj said she has spoken to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about the incident in Greater Noida and sought a report from the state government.
"He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident," the minister tweeted.
The Minister's response came after a Nigerian student in Greater Noida took to Twitter and pleaded with her for swift action, saying that living in the area has become "a life threatening issue."
The attack on the Nigerian students took place Monday evening and it coincided with a protest that was organized by online groups who blamed the unexplained death of a teenage student on the African community.
The protesters alleged that the student, identified as Manish Khari, was supplied drugs by Africans who live in the area. However, doctors have not yet confirmed if the death was due to overdose of drugs.
Local TV channels beamed footage of a video apparently shot on a mobile phone that showed a large group of people, mostly local residents, thrashing one of the African students and hitting him with steel dustbins at a shopping mall.
"This is not expected from a country which says athithi devo bhavo (a guest is God). There is much hue and cry if Indians are attacked abroad, but why are we being treated like animals," one of the students told the media.
Police in Greater Noida said they have so far arrested seven persons, mostly local residents, in connection with the incident.
"We have also identified 300 other local residents who were involved in the incident from closed-circuit TV cameras installed in the area. All the perpetrators will soon be arrested and booked for attempt to murder," a senior police official said.
Attacks on Africans in and around Delhi is not uncommon. Last year, some Nigerians were beaten up in Delhi's Chhatarpur area.