Racist Attacks And Governments’ Inaction: The Ordeal Of African Nationals

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The country has systematically failed to uphold the international legal obligations in safeguarding the rights of the foreign nationals residing in the territory, despite the manifested laws and guidelines against racial discrimination in the global forum encompassing human rights. The bulging debate over this issue has led to bifurcation amongst the community, wherein the political parties on one side, are reluctant to prove such attacks to be ‘spontaneous’ assaults perpetrated by anti-social elements, while on the other side, the thriving community of the African immigrants, High-Commissions of various African nations and the victims of the innumerable traumatizing incidents of violence against this burgeoning community of immigrants from such nations believed it to be the element of racial hatred.

There has been a pervading climate of insecurity amongst the African nationals due to this pervasive outburst of racial discrimination which has now taken an institutionalized form. Though this anomaly of existence of racism has not been acknowledged by most Indians as they either refuse to take any stand to out-rightly reject such violence or remain silent, but this alteration in the behavioral patterns towards others whom they consider to be inferiors has been criticized time and again. The flawed notion of the incidence of racism only in the West has been explicitly manifested through insidious violence and hatred towards the ‘other’, as categorized by our “patronized politicians”. The state of oblivion to these issues or denial of its mere existence surmounted it to be complicit in discriminatory regime.

The concerns raised for the security of the African nationals had far reaching effects as their Diplomats and Heads of missions decided not to participate in the event organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, for celebration of the Africa Day for the reasons that they intend to mourn for the slaying of fellow countrymen. There has been sudden mobilization amongst the African counterparts recommending to their respective governments not to send students to India unless their safety be assured and that pervading sense of insecurity be moderated.

The statements issued by the party leaders were centering the argument that these ‘unfortunate’ attacks though had embarrassed the country but were not part of any racial discrimination. Even a sensitization programme has been launched for the purpose of reiterating such incidents as humiliation to the country not being able to assure the foreign nationals’ safety from own ‘spirited hooligans’. The question though still remains that when the leaders of the nation are themselves denying such occurrences to be part of racist attacks then what good such sensitisation programme going to achieve. The existent embarrassment would be not to comprehend the problem of ‘superiority complex’ and encouraging such mistreatment by not categorizing it to be a crime it is.

The eminence of the fairer skin in the subconscious of the Indian mentality and their need for approval has mesmerized the presence of the black Africans to be an aberration. This sort of rationalization by the nationals is problematic as though the territories are divided but people are not. The cultural differences and the ethnic diversity ought not to be the reason for condemning other community as this would surmount feeling of hatred obstructing the principle of universal brotherhood. The reluctant protesters claiming foreign nationals to return to their respective countries need to understand that this ideological dichotomy would not result in synchronization of any community but would only strain the ties of bilateral understanding between the countries. Though the policy matters of the nation does not concern such protesters but the ordeal of the African nationals to be deliberated upon with humanistic approach.

The element of racism is difficult to prove amidst the ‘nationalists’ in denial of this proclaimed delinquency articulating in unison for uncalled uprising. The unstructured aspect of racism is devoid of any rational interpretation leaning on virtual manifestations as well as concealed unbridled machinations. The recognition of the existence of racism in the country would be apt in determining the reasonable approach to be channelized in curbing this catastrophe and emancipating it from social inquisitions.

The country well known for its inclusiveness has now been victim to the premeditated attacks against a particular community which is an outcome of the failed institutional mechanisms in safeguarding the interests of the alleged ‘inferior’ ethnicity. It is incumbent upon the Governmental authorities to prevent such unfortunate occurrences but so far there has been no record of any action been taken in this regard which shows their inconsiderate attitude while dealing with issue. The sporadic incidents of African nationals beaten up for trivial brawls resulting in deaths of few, raised a requisite action to be taken by the appropriate authorities to resolve this alarming debacle.

There has been elongated discussions over the subject as to whether there subsists hidden apartheid in the recent controversy paving way for racial discrimination. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) monitors the implementation of such policies which debars any practice of differentiation on the basis of race whereby it is convinced that the seriousness of this matter has not been understood by India in its true manner which subsequently results as a blot on humanity. The entrenched social segregation ensued in degrading conditions of the African counterparts as they undergo invariable violations of their right to life and security. The atrocities forming part of such discrimination highlights that the law enforcing authorities were inadequate in their efforts to curtail retaliatory violence.

The human rights commitments of the country ought to pressurize the governmental authorities to identify measures taken in order to ensure appropriate reforms in elimination of abuses against foreign nationals, to identify steps taken to eradicate social segregation, to strictly adhere to the implementation of international policies and obligations to prevent violence of any sort against African nationals. There has been bilateral agreements between India and African countries focusing on development and growth of relations but such racial practices out-rightly rejects any scope of futuristic bargains. The concerned ministry should suo-moto initiate stricter actions against the perpetrators and condemn the attacks. The African diplomats had to urge the government to ensure safety of their nationals. Rather; the state machinery shall itself pledge to safeguard the rights of the victims as this matter questions the capability of the state to handle its own subjects.

Thereby the officials should be engaged in constructive dialogues with both the communities, addressing their concerns and offering recommendations to prohibit descent discrimination and further guaranteeing rights of the non-discrimination on the basis of race or ethnic origin. Though there might not be legalistic means to curb this discrimination at present but the harmonization of the societal tendencies and the logical analogy of every person being equal needs to be the footing for progressing towards the picturesque of undivided India welcoming cultural and ethnic differences but could become possible only when we stop pretending and start accepting.


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