African students stage a demonstration against increasing attacks on them, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, on May 30, 2016. (Photo: IANS)
NEW DELHI: They face abuse on the streets, people avoid talking to them, locals do
not sit beside them in the metros and sometimes they are beaten -- all
of which is "racial in nature" feel most students from the African
community residing in Delhi.
The Africans in Delhi term the
behaviour of society towards them as "very unfair", as they are not even
allowed to present their side of the story with the law enforcement
Samuel Jack, a 25-year old Nigerian student, residing
in south Delhi for the last four years, told IANS: "We fear street
attack when we are out, and what adds to our misery is the bad policing
as we are not even allowed to represent our side."
Samuel Jack is secretary of the Association for African Students in India.
are a lot of issues that we face here, from finding an accommodation,
to racial abuses because we are students here," he said, adding, "I am
speaking to you on behalf of the African students and not on behalf of
the African community."
Ibrahim Djid, a 25-year old Libyan
national who has been staying in India since 2011 and studies Business
Administration at the Noida International University in the national
capital region, says his family now doesn't want him to continue to
"We do not feel safe here. When we step out of our
house, we are abused by the people here," Ibrahim Djid told IANS,
adding, "People here discriminate against us on the basis of our skin
colour - and that too from none other than a brown brother, someone of
brown colour like us -- which hurts us the most."
said that after the recent attacks on Africans in the national capital,
including the killing of a Congolese national over a minor tiff, the
students at his campus also ignored them.
However, when IANS
asked whether any students union came forward in their support, Samuel
Jack said, "Not at all, no one tried to come with us."
the "exploitation" at the hands of private institutes in India, Ibrahim
Djid said: "I study in a private institution where they only care about
money, and if you are an African student you are charged double."
have to pay US$3,600, but if you are a local student then you have to
pay only Rs one lakh. And apart from that, we have to pay US$500 for
medical at the same college because they want money and after that
nobody cares about us," he added.
"Some universities here just
exploit us, they don't have proper facilities for us. And it is the
reason why the admissions in the last couple of months have gone down,"
said Samuel Jack.
Ibrahim Djid plans to go to the USA for further
studies as his parents have refused to extend his stay in India
anymore. "My parents today feel guilty as they have sent me here for my
studies. They want me to come back. But I can't go back in the middle."
Siddiqui, president of the Association for Community Research and
Action advocating African students, told IANS, "There is a huge
communication and cultural gap between the two communities here. And we
are planning to organise intercultural festivals."
"In the first
phase we plan to organise food festivals where the African and the
Indian community will showcase their cultures of food," he said, adding,
"We also plan to celebrate the important African and Indian days
together to understand each other in a better way."
"We have also
started a campaign against racism named 'Do I Look Different' on social
media to spread awareness among people, and the African students have
agreed," Siddiqui added.
He said that on June 25, the Graduation day of the African students would be celebrated together.
on the 'Do I look different' campaign, Samuel Jack said, "We want to be
a part of the Indian society; we will support in every step that leads
to community building, development and peace."
(Anand Singh can be reached at email@example.com and Ruchika Kumar at firstname.lastname@example.org)