India is not a racist country, no, it is not!

The niftiest thing about racism in India is that in the mind of its practitioners, it doesn’t exist. Racism in India, that is. Communalism, communism, vegetarianism, hooliganism, casteism, crony capitalism and Mughal-e-Ism, yes. But racism? Not in this country.

How can it, since we have, since the dawn of pre-post-colonialism and other malapropisms, been the victims, and, as far as nationalism goes, been glorious ‘tryst with destiny’ victors against it.

For Indians, who at least don’t ‘look Chinese’, it is that horrid thing that gets Indians beaten up in Australia, Sikhs mistaken for West Asian Islamists in the US, construction workers and maids in the Gulf leading miserable lives, and the Mahatma thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg.

And in those rare cases when the Indian is actually not the victim, racism is what US President Donald Trump supporters ‘do’ against Mexicans, swathes of the US practised before Jay ‘Success is the Biggest Revenge’ Z became one of America’s B R Ambedkars, and why Nelson Mandela became famous for being the Indian Gandhi. (More on the Mahatma a bit later.)

Last Monday, four Nigerians — Nigerians being from a country in Africa, the way Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in a racist attack in Kansas in February, was from the Asian country of India — were brutally attacked in Greater Noida by a mob. The mob had morphed from a reported group of angry protesters who believed that a Class 12 (Indian) boy died of a drug overdose from drugs allegedly supplied by his Nigerian neighbours.

It is important to note that the four Nigerians beaten up on Monday — or the fifth Nigerian attacked in another part of Greater Noida on Wednesday —and a fifth were detained but released after the police found no evidence against them. Perhaps the mob and the cops can be forgiven, since it is really, really hard for Brown people to differentiate between Black Africans going about their own business and Black Africans peddling drugs. After all, when did another kind of -ism stop enough people from believing that Pakistan actor Fawad Khan also had a hand in the attack on the Indian Army headquarters in Uri, Kashmir?

Since last week’s racist attacks, much has been aired about the traditional Indian prejudice against dark skin, with the usual examples of marriage adverts putting a premium on fair skin and ‘whitening’ creams trotted out. That is, indeed, a prejudice, and a deeply embarrassing one. But not fundamentally different from the ‘traditional aesthetic’ bias for large breasts or — among the ‘hipster’ crowd — big beards.

Racism is both more toxic and, ironically, easier to stamp out. It is more toxic because it not only harbours a prejudice that is cooked in vats of noxious stereotypes, but it’s also regularly acted upon. Racist action can take the form of, as cited by Monday’s victims, name-calling and taunts, restricted entry and inflated prices to more violent forms.

South African social scientist Ashwin Desai and historian Goolam Vahed in their 2015 book, The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire, extensively collate Gandhiji’s own writing in the period in which the future Father of Another Nation lived in South Africa between 1893 and 1914.

In this startling work of scholarship, the writers quote passages where Gandhi had described Black Africans as “savage”, “raw” and living a life of “indolence and nakedness” and making a case through campaigns of being “treated differently” from the indigenous Black population.

So, the bull must be caught by the horns if racism in India is to be tackled with a little more seriousness than via parliamentary condemnation and tut-tuts about creating a bump in India-Africa trade, happy post-colonial ties and other pleasant things between the people of the ‘Great Continent’ and of the ‘Great Subcontinent’. Or rather, the bull must be caught by the horns and put before the cart: by cracking down on racist crime when it takes place in Mother India.

As Monday’s attacks — and countless other anecdotal evidence that goes beyond ‘Africans’ and includes fellow Indians from the northeastern part of the country — point to once again, the functionaries of law and order find these ‘crimes’ to be nothing but ‘incidents’ in a country where you don’t either have to be ‘kaalu’ or a ‘chinky’ to face a lynch mob. And ‘incidents’, as we all know, get taken as seriously as a prospective paying guest with a name that can be so hard to pronounce.


Delhi: Sixth accused arrested for attacking Africans

Three days after around 600 persons were booked for rioting, assault and attempt to murder in connection with the mob attack in Greater Noida’s Pari Chowk area which left at least four African nationals injured, the district police has arrested a sixth person in the case, police said on Thursday. “One more person — Jatin Bhati — has been arrested. Six persons have been arrested so far, while at least 60 people in the mob have been identified. We are conducting search operations in parts of Greater Noida and more arrests are expected to take place soon,” said Sujata Singh, superintendent of police (Rural), Gautam Buddha Nagar.

“Three men were picked up from the spot that evening by police personnel while two others were arrested later. Most of the candle-light procession has been visually recorded and we have identified 60 people so far. There is video footage which shows the accused inciting the mob while some of them watch Africans being attacked and claim that the administration will now be taught a lesson,” Singh further said.

The FIR in the case maintains that between 1,000 and 1,200 people had assembled at Pari Chowk around 6 pm and blocked all roads leading to the roundabout. The FIR further states that police personnel had requested the protesters to clear the roads but it went unheard and slogans inciting people to beat up “Nigerians” were raised. The protest had also seen posters demanding a “Nigerian-free Greater Noida” hung at Pari Chowk.

“The family of the accused had initially alleged that the Indian boy, who died, had been kidnapped by five Nigerians who reside in the same colony. Later, they alleged that the boy had been given drugs by them. The post-mortem report has stated that the cause of death is unknown and his viscera sample has been sent to a forensic lab in Agra,” said Avnish Dixit, SHO, Kasna police station.

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Attack on Africans in Greater Noida: Not correct to draw conclusion as probe is pending, says MEA

Centre said the attacks on Africans in Greater Noida cannot be categorised as racial yet, and that it is not correct to draw a conclusion on “the nature and the reason” for these acts as the probe is pending. (File Photo) Centre said the attacks on Africans in Greater Noida cannot be categorised as racial yet, and that it is not correct to draw a conclusion on “the nature and the reason” for these acts as the probe is pending. (File Photo)

The Centre on Thursday said the attacks on Africans in Greater Noida cannot be categorised as racial yet, and that it is not correct to draw a conclusion on “the nature and the reason” for these acts as the probe is pending. On the alleged attack on a Kenyan woman on Wednesday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said Kenyan diplomats held a meeting with officials of the ministry concerned, and it has been conveyed to the Indian side that the reported incident “does not correspond with reality”. Asserting that such attacks were “completely unacceptable and have been condemned”, he said the government is engaged with the authorities concerned as well as the students.

Asked if these were racial attacks, Baglay said, “Pending the investigation, it is not correct to go into the nature and the reason for these particular activities. There will be a better understanding after the outcome of the probe.” Four Nigerian students were attacked by residents of Greater Noida after a 17-year-old Indian boy died last week at the NSG Black Cats Enclave due to suspected drug overdose. The residents had taken out a protest march after police released from their custody some Nigerians, who were detained in connection with the boy’s death, due to “lack of evidence”.

Terming these acts as “the action of the uninformed and misguided few”, Baglay said they do not detract from the deep belief of the government and the people of India of “vasudeva kutumbakam (the world is one family)”. “We will continue to welcome African people as valuable partners. Our engagement with Africa, embodied among others in the implementation of the historic IAFS – III, will continue to grow,” he said.

Baglay said the external affairs minister has spoken to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, and Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar has spoken to the acting High Commissioner of Nigeria. “We are in touch with the Nigerian High Commission in New Delhi. The students who were hurt during the incident have been treated at a local hospital and have already been released,” he said. Law enforcement authorities of the district have made arrests and a large number of people are under watch, he said, adding, “The investigation is on and the law of the land will prevail.”

The ministry is in touch with the Gautam Buddha Nagar district administration, which has enhanced round-the-clock security in the area, Baglay said. He also noted that the district magistrate held a meeting that was attended by the residents and foreign students’ associations in the presence of representatives from the Nigerian High Commission.

Meanwhile, Nigeria called the Indian envoy in Abuja to register its protest over attacks on its nationals in India and sought “diligent prosecution” against the perpetrators. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olushola Enikanolaiye, sought action from the Indian government during his meeting with Indian envoy BN Reddy in Abuja Wednesday, state-run News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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Delhi: Problem with landlords among issues Africans face

The Delhi Police special helpline for Africans living in the country received complaints mainly relating to disputes with landlords and problems with universities, said police. Delhi Police received an average of five complaints a month on its helpline for Africans. Out of the 59 calls received on the helpline since it was started in May last year, cases were registered in 12 instances, a senior police officer said.

According to police, the cases which were registered were not “very serious” in nature and pertained to small fights or comments being passed on Africans. Following the murder of a Congolese national last year in the national capital, the 24×7 helpline (8750871111) was launched to address complaints of the Africans. Joint Commissioner of Police (southeast) was appointed the nodal officer for the helpline. R P Upadhyay, the nodal officer for the helpline, said that they conduct regular interactions with Africans at district level, and in February this year he held a meeting with the Africans.

“Ours is a very regular interaction. We have held close to 16 meetings with them,” Upadhyay said. Explaining the nature of calls received on the helpline, he said that most of the calls pertained to problems with landlords, problems with universities in terms of communication issues, hostel and fees. “The other calls pertained to cultural differences, people not being able to understand their accent. In the meetings, the Africans have regularly stressed that they are not given rent receipts by landlords that could help prove they are residing here awaiting extension of visas – in case it has expired,” said another officer.

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House unites in concern over attacks on Africans

Attacks on African students in Greater Noida. Attacks on African students in Greater Noida.

The government promised Thursday an impartial probe will be conducted and action taken against those responsible for attacks on African students in Greater Noida. This was after the Opposition in Rajya Sabha expressed concern over two back-to-back attacks: a mob attack on a group of Nigerian men, followed by a brutal assault on a Kenyan woman who was dragged out of an autorickshaw. Opposition MPs said India’s name is getting “sullied” and asked the government to address the matter on a “war footing”.

JD(U) member Sharad Yadav raised the matter, and was supported by members across parties — the BJP, the Congress, the Left, the SP and the BSP. “Discrimination happens with people of African origin staying here due to their colour,” Sharad Yadav said. “We are pained when there is discrimination against us in the US, Australia and any other country in the world but this kind of behaviour is being meted out in our country. Yesterday a daughter, an African girl was dragged out an auto and beaten up.”

Replying to the concerns expressed, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj assured the House on behalf of the Centre as well as the state government that there would be an impartial probe and action would be taken against those responsible.

“Both incidents are unfortunate,” Sushma said. “First, a 19 year-old boy died and thereafter there was an attack on Nigerian students. As soon as I got to know of the incident, I sought a report from the UP government and I spoke personally to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He told me there will be an impartial probe. An impartial probe is being conducted. The chief minister himself has given an assurance about it. I assure the entire House on his as well my behalf that there will be an independent probe into the incident and after that we will take whatever action is required against whomever,” she said.

“I want to say that as long as the probe is not completed, it will not be proper to say anything.”

Ministers of state M J Akbar and V K Singh too have spoken to the chief minister, Sushma said, assuring the House that the state administration was taking steps to maintain law and order and that the injured Nigerian students are being given medical treatment. “The administration [in UP] is carrying out an impartial probe and we are very alert to ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” she said.

Calling the attacks racial, Deputy Leader of the Congress Anand Sharma said the government must set up a cell in the external affairs and home ministries to coordinate for safety and protection of all African students in India. He said India’s name has been sullied throughout the world because of the attacks.

Sitaram Yechury (CPM) wanted the House to adopt a special resolution condemning the incident, with which Deputy Chairman P J Kurien too concurred.

“On the one side, we are condemning the racial attacks on Indians in other countries like the USA and Australia, but at the same time, racial attacks in our country cannot be justified,” Kurien said. “The government should be very vigilant. Very strong action should be taken… No Indian will justify it.” Yechury wanted the Centre to give a “warning” to the state government that such incidents are not repeated.

Sushma said she came to the House to reply to these concerns when she saw on television that Sharad Yadav was raising the issue in Rajya Sabha. Kurien complimented her for the prompt response.

Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress said that in the last two years, the government has made a special attempt to reach out to Africa. “But such things destroy all that goodwill,” Bajwa said.

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This Man’s Honest Post On Racism In India Shows How Disrespectful We Really Are Toward Africans

A few days ago, locals in Greater Noida had beat up Nigerians for their alleged involvement in the death of a 17-year-old boy. Because racism comes as an easy offence for most of us, the assault on the Africans didn’t create an uproar that it deserved.

Nana Kofi Yalley/FB

This is probably why this man decided to pen a thought piece on the subject. Nana Kofi Yalley writes,

“Must we also start ganging up on your fellow citizens who have gone to stay in our countries? You say who cares just because you don’t have a relative there to be attacked but if you were to be attacked yourself will you dare to live to be attacked in another man’s country where you are vulnerable? That’s the choice you leave us. But we are too civilized to do unto you what you do unto us.”

Association of African Students in India / Facebook

He goes on to explain how Africans are contributing to the Indian economy but are not getting the respect they deserve.

“We renting your flats at high prices, paying huge amount of dollars for fees, and spending the monies we bring in here and not saving them outside India but in the same Indian banks. Please give us some respect. The recent attack in Noida is something I can’t really understand where innocent people will have to be hospitalised for a crime they didn’t commit.”

You can read his entire post here.

It’s high time we, as Indian citizens, learn to respect foreign nationals staying in our country and stop seeing them as a threat just because they belong to a different colour or community.


Hate Crimes Against Africans Continue As Another Man Thrashed Badly By A Mob In Greater Noida

A video of an African man being beaten up by Indians at Ansal Plaza mall in Greater Noida is making rounds on the internet. The man can be seen lying on the floor being beaten by around 18-20 Indians using steel dustbins. The brawl reportedly took place for no reason.

The video, uploaded by Association Of African Students In India on Facebook, is being shared massively on social media.

“This is most disturbing. Wonder why the security of this mall did not intervene or call the cops? Also, so many people are just watching! Most disgusting, Indians have no right to condemn hate crimes abroad when they can tolerate this in their own country. Horrible!”, reads a comment by a Facebook user.

“Indians are the most racist….u guys are saying about Africa… Dey can’t tolerate dere own citizens… I.e northeasterns as Chinese n Nepali… N some dalit community as untouchables… N dey talk about racism in USA…pity such citizens”, a user commented on the post.

A Nigerian student, had in a tweet, pleaded with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj for swift action, saying that living in Noida has become a “life threatening issue”.

@SushmaSwaraj as an international student in noida, you need to act fast as living for us in Noida is becoming a life threatening issue — Sadiq Bello (@Sadiq8800) March 28, 2017

The minister promised swift action and spoke with UP CM Yogi Adityanath.

Sadiq – Government of India is seized of the matter. We are taking immediate action. — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 28, 2017

I have spoken to Yogi Adityanath ji Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about attack on African students in Greater Noida. /1 — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 28, 2017

He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident. /2 — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 28, 2017

On Monday, hundreds of local residents were marching in protest against the death of a Class 12 student, when some turned violent and starting attacking the Nigerians shopping in the area.

The attackers alleged that the deceased Manish Khari, was drugged by Africans who live in the area. He later died of heart attack after a suspected overdose on Saturday.

There have been several instances every now and then about attacks on the African community in India, prompting the government to give assurance of their safety in the country.


Seven Racial Attacks In The Last Two Years, Here’s What The African Community Has Suffered

Monday’s attack on an African man by a mob at Greater Noida’s Ansal Plaza Mall has once again sparked a debate on the general attitude of Indian towards Africans, which conspicuously points towards racism. A video of the man being beaten up with metal dustbins for no apparent reason was shared on social media by the Association of African Students in India.

Also read: Hate Crimes Against Africans Continue As Another Man Thrashed Badly By A Mob In Greater Noida

Racial attacks weighed by misconceptions and prejudice against the African community isn’t a first in India. Nationals of African countries have been at the receiving end of violence laced with racism for years now.

Here Indiatimes gives you a timeline of all the recent racial violations against Africans in India:

1. On Sunday, a large group of African students gathered at Kasna Police Station in Greater Noida to protest murder charges. The parents of a deceased Class 12 student, who died of a drug overdose, suspect that the drugs were supplied by Africans who live in their vicinity.

2. A Congolese national in Delhi died on May 20, 2016, after being violently beaten to death by three men in Vasant Kunj. All of them ran into an altercation over hiring an auto-rickshaw.


3. Following this incident, seven Africans including four women were attacked physically and with verbal racial slurs by a mob in South Delhi’s Mehrauli area.

Also read: This Man’s Honest Post On Racism In India Shows How Disrespectful We Really Are Toward Africans

4. Local residents of Hyderabad’s Banjra Hills beat a 23-year-old Nigerian student with an iron rod in May 2016 over an argument.


5. A Tanzanian woman living in Bengaluru was stripped and assaulted by a mob after a Sudanese national killed a 35-year-old woman in a car accident.


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6. In another incident in Bengaluru, a 23-year-old Congolese national was tied to a pole and beaten up in September 2015. Local residents of Kammanahalli objected to him playing loud music in his car. A mob gathered, he tried to flee, was chased, and beaten up.

7. In March 2015, three Cote D’Ivoire nationals were beaten up in Bengaluru’s Kothanur after locals apparently got irritated by a speeding driver, who was from Africa.


Despite strong and historical relations between India and African countries, there exist deep stereotypes about the African community in India. An estimated number of 40,000 Africans live in India, of which around 25,000 are students.


Five Arrested, 44 Others Booked For Assault On Nigerian Nationals Even As The African Community Demand Strict Action

Noida police which is investigating the mob assault on two Nigerian students inside a shopping mall has arrested five people in connection with the incident, while 44 others have been booked.

As the African community in India remains shaken after the assault, the police on Tuesday carried out a flag in Noida to reassure them.


African students living in Delhi NCR said they were concerned after the attack and demanded adequate security.

“In Greater Noida, they (locals) say that Africans ‘we don’t want you to be here anymore’. These are actually hate crimes towards African community. Africans are not secure in this country,” Association of African Students President Samuel Jack said.


He urged the government to conduct a fair investigation into the attacks and threatened to call for a total boycott of universities in India if steps were not taken to ensure their safety.

“Nigeria is home to around 1.2 million Indians. We give them the best of hospitality . So we ask the external affairs ministry to take proactive measures and stop (the attacks). Our lives are not safe here anymore. If this continues, we shall go for a total boycott (of universities in India),” said another student Plesidoe Okuguni.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who took up the issue with UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said there will be a fair and impartial investigation into the incident.

The Nigerian nationals had become victims of a mob fury on Monday after the suspicious death of 17-year-old boy in Noida. Locals alleged that the boy died of overdose after the Nigerian student who lived in the neighbourhood forced him to inhale drug.


Based on the complaint by the boy’s father the police had detained five African students, but they were let go after failing to find any evidence to link them to the death.

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But things took a nasty turn after a candlelight march by the locals demanding the arrest of the students. The protest turned violent and two African students were beaten up by the crowd. The angry mob later entered the Ansal Plaza mall and assaulted the other two students with everything including sticks and chairs.


The two assaulted Nigerians, Endurance Amarawa, 21, and Precious Amalcima, 24 were taken to a hospital with facial injuries and minor fractures but doctors have ruled them out of danger.


“We were shopping in Ansal Plaza on Monday evening when suddenly a mob attacked us viciously. We tried to enter a showroom to save ourselves,” Precious Amalcima, who is doing political science from Noida International University (NIU), told reporters at the hospital.

Attacks on Africans are nothing new in India. Every year thousands of Africans, mostly students come to India. They have for long complained about being discriminated and attacked without any provocation. Many who live outside college hostels say they even find it difficult to get a rented accommodation.


We Love India, But Indians Don’t Love Us Back, Say Africans Living In Delhi

A fortnight ago, India was shocked by the murder of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in the US. A couple of Indians, including one Christian priest, were attacked in Australia last week. The Indians slammed these attacks and called them hate crimes. But, the grievous attack on Nigerian students in Greater Noida once again proved that we are no better than those whom we call racists.


Approximately, ten thousand Africans of different nationalities live in India for work as well as studies and most of them came across racial discrimination at every stage of their lives in India. The misconception of Africans being the cannibals was one of the reasons why the locals targeted Nigerian students in Greater Noida society and thrashed him badly. Apart from being cannibals, there are several other misconceptions, these African national grapple with while trying to accommodate themselves in India.

Here Indiatimes spoke to four African nationals who shared their experiences of living in India and how they have been subjected to racial discrimination at almost at all walks of life. Here is what they had to say.

Please understand, we are not cannibals

“Africans being cannibals is one of the major misconceptions Indians having about us and Noida’s incident was triggered in this suspicion. I am disheartened, threatened and broken to such an extent that can’t be explained. Indians need to understand that we are human like them and can’t even think of eating another human. Please understand, we are not cannibals,” said Presidoe Okuguni, an African from Eretria living in Lajpat Nagar and former president of Association of African Students in India (AASI).


Stop labelling us as drug peddlers and criminals

“Most of the Africans in India are seen as criminals. Most of the Indians think we are drug peddlers and burglars. I am not saying all of us are innocent, but for the fault of a few, all people who came to India in hope of a better life shouldn’t be seen through the prism of hatred,” Said Neguse, a JNU student.

We love India, but seldom get affection in return

“Majority of the Africans who have come here are either studying or doing small jobs. We have come here for a better life that was hard to get back in our countries. We respect people here. We follow most of the rules, even pay our rents on time, yet even the landlord often discriminate against us and sometimes pass lewd comments against us.


I have many Indian friends who love and respect me, but they were able to do so because they talked to me. Unless we don’t get fair chance to tell who we are, people will always have misconceptions against us,” said Victor, another student of Nigeria.

Yes, Indians do racially discriminate

“The colour of skin has always been the case and it will remain so. Indians do respect white people who come here as tourists, but not the Africans and it’s all because of the colour of our skin. We are laughed at, ridiculed, insulted and even in some cases like the recent one beaten badly,” said another African who didn’t wish to be named.

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He has been living here in India for the last five years.

Local media further complicates the matter

“Media is something, which creates perceptions in people’s minds. Greater Noida’s incident is a classic case where media didn’t behave as it should have.


The boy was missing and media ran stories telling that the parents of the missing boy suspect Africans who might have eaten him up. Because of the stories that came out before the actual thrashing of the African national, the people or the mob got their beliefs about cemented and rest of just history. Media should instead of making out lives more miserable than what it’s now,” added Presidoe Okuguni

Why do you complain when Indians get beaten in the West?


“If Indians look down at us because of the colour of our skin, why do they crib when they get insulted in Western countries. Lately, there have been some incidents of hate crimes against Indians in the US and other countries and Indian have been cribbing about those incidents on all possible platforms. We love Indians and want their love and respect in return,” said the person who wished to be anonymous.

From landlord to shopkeeper, all laugh at us

“First of all, we don’t get accommodations easily in Delhi or any other city for that matter. Even if we do, it takes a hell lot of references and then be it the landlord, shopkeeper, barber, bus conductor and you name it all end up passing comments at us in Hindi or any other language that we don’t understand. They pass comments on our ladies as well, but we overlook. If we don’t understand their language, it doesn’t mean we don’t get that we are being insulted or laughed at. Hatred is same, no matter which language you use to profess it,” said Okuguni.


Yes, we are scared

“I have heard from some of our Indian friends that most Indians get scared of us. Let me tell them that with incidents of violence like these, we are also scared of you. Every time, my landlord comes to me, I get scared for the roof over my head. Every time people in streets, metro, buses, autos and markets look at us with suspicion, we get scared.


“The brave face that we put forth showcasing we don’t care is nothing more than a facade to protect ourselves, but now that facade has started failing us and you can see the results. I want to tell Indians that all Africans, some of us perhaps are conflicted in criminal episodes, aren’t bad and we are as normal as you people. Let’s us give our prejudices against one another,” added Neguse.