Five people have been arrested in Bangalore, capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, over the assault of a Tanzanian student after a Sudanese student’s car ran over and killed a woman, local media reported Thursday. The incident, which occurred Sunday night, prompted the authorities of the East African country to raise the matter with the Indian government.
The 21-year-old woman and her three friends — all Tanzanians — were attacked by a mob as they were passing by the accident site a little later. The woman was partially stripped by the mob and her car was also set on fire, according to media reports. Tanzanian embassy officials have sought a report of the incident. Tanzanian High Commissioner John Kijazi, in a telephonic conversation with Asian News International (ANI), said that the country wants local police to take strict action against the culprits.
However, in a news conference Thursday, Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara denied the allegations made by the Tanzanian student that she was "stripped and paraded."
The Indian government late Wednesday reportedly expressed its “deep pain” and “regret” to Tanzania over the "shameful" incident. A mob had reportedly gathered in Hessarghatta area after an allegedly drunk student from Sudan ran his car over a local woman sleeping on the roadside.
"About 30 minutes later, the four [Tanzanian] students, including the woman, were passing by when they stopped to inquire what had happened. That was when they were attacked," Bernandoo Kafumu, president of the Tanzanian students' association at the local college, said, according to BBC.
"The woman did not even know the [Sudanese] man who was involved in the accident," a member of the association, who spoke on condition of anonymity told BBC. "After they were attacked, the Tanzanians ran back to their car and tried to drive away, but there was an obstacle on the road. So they got down and ran. She ran for her life. The local people chased her and removed her clothes."
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has asked the Karnataka government for explanation and for a report on the incident.
"It is a great great distressing information that we get that if a foreign tourist coming here, a female, is being subjected to such kind of humiliating conduct by the people around. It is a matter of great shame for India. And we are very sorry. We must apologize to the Tanzanian government and Tanzanian people for this solitary act of inhuman behavior and barbaric behavior with a woman," Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and senior lawyer Majeed Memon told ANI Thursday.
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also condemned the attack on the Tanzanian student, and demanded stringent punishment for the attackers.