African Students beaten by Mob in India

Beating of African Students by Mob in India Prompts Soul-Searching on Race





Video of three African students being beaten in a New Delhi metro station on Sunday. Gowsick 19, via YouTube

As India’s prime minister visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with President Obama in Washington on Tuesday, a debate about racism was taking shape in the Indian news media, prompted by video of an angry mob beating three African students in a New Delhi metro station this week.
The video clips show that the men unsuccessfully sought cover inside and on top of a glass booth in the station used by the Delhi Police, who were notably absent for at least five minutes as the students were beaten with sticks and fists.

Video of the attack on the three African students in New Delhi on Sunday. Arvind Ranjan, via YouTube

“Delhi’s ugly face — racist and without a trace of humanity or compassion — was visible at Rajiv Chowk Metro station on Sunday evening,” The Times of India editorialized. “That an entirely avoidable situation with racial overtones was allowed to develop so easily must sit heavy on the conscience of this city.”

As the Indian website Scroll reported, “The video shows what looks startlingly like a lynch mob beating the black men with sticks while yelling, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai,’ ” or “Victory for Mother India.”

Video of Delhi police officers with three African students after they were assaulted on Sunday. Sachin Kaushik, via YouTube

Some of the footage of the attack was posted on YouTube with racist descriptions of the African students, who are from Gabon and Burkina Faso.

Although it is not clear what, if anything, the men had done to incite the attack, one of at least four witnesses who posted video of the incident on YouTube wrote that they were accused of “misbehaving with female passengers,” by making lewd comments to a woman on a train.

According to the police, however, no such complaint was filed against the students, who denied sexually harassing anyone. Other witnesses reportedly told the police that one of the men had made an “anti-India” comment of some sort, “which led to the ruckus.”

After they were eventually rescued by police officers, the students were taken to a hospital, where one of them had a gash in his neck stitched up and spent the night. The authorities are reportedly studying surveillance footage from the station as they consider charging members of the crowd there with rioting.

The video evidence prompted anger and introspection from Indians on social networks and a discussion in the media of the racism experienced by Africans in India that is common but usually goes unreported.

The response included an extended meditation in a series of updates posted on Twitter by a Delhi blogger who writes as @ambaazaad.
“My body, whenever I see a black person in the metro, tenses with anxiety,” the blogger wrote in one update. “Like seeing kids playing near traffic, I fear for them.”


One thought on “African Students beaten by Mob in India

  • October 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    The only colour racism knows is culture. Black African cultures are viewed by European and Asian cultures as underdeveloped and uncivilised. The ideology of humanitarianism and equality is often only afforded by an elite knowledge class who privilege their ideology over their practical capacities and means to generate and facilitate change. The publics which these knowledge classes represent (through the application of the law and through tribal cultural entitlements) are encouraged to hold on to notions of (sacred) cultural inherited superiority. For example, the most destitute and ill-educated white person may harbour views that despite his social standing, he still considers himself to be superior to president Obama. This is essentially because the American cultural system confers a privileged valorisation on being white and a deficit assignment on being black. President Obama cannot confer a deficit legitimation on whites because the confirming legitimation apparatus consciously and sub-consciously is white. When this apparatus installs white presidents they are called presidents even if they hail from distinct European tribes such as the Kennedys and Clinton. President Obama was installed as the first African American President, not quite the real deal! In this sense, culture has a white and a black skin. Progressive Blacks often mistakenly hold on to the view that Racism is a white European crime against the rest of humanity. In our globalised world, we are fast wakening up to the disturbing reality that the real skin colour of racism is ethno-cultural


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