We Want More African Students: DU Launches Special Enrolment Drive

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With an aim to overcome the negative feedback after Delhi had a series of violent attacks on African nationals in March this year, the Delhi University has undertaken a slew of measures to encourage more enrolment. These measures include an extension of online registration for foreign nationals till May 31 and answering their queries on email.

The Foreign Students Registry (FSR) of the varsity has received over 300 applications from African nationals, the varsity said in a statement. The FSR office will also answer queries from African students on fsr@du.ac.in and fsr_du@yahoo.com and respond to phone calls on 91-11-27666756. "To increase the number, the varsity will be extending online registration deadline for foreign nationals from 20 April to May 31," it said. "The varsity is committed to reaching out to international students which will result in strengthening social, cultural and political ties between the two countries," the varsitys registrar said in the statement.

The spate of attacks in Delhi's prestigious Vasant Kunj area and the Greater Noida areas had drawn some condemnation when they happened. A serious diplomatic crisis had been caused with the diplomats of all African nations demanding accountability from India.

Representatives of 44 African countries had, at the time, accused the Indian government of failing to do enough to stop racist attacks on their nationals following a series of brutal assaults targeting Nigerians.Around a dozen people were injured, some seriously, when a mob angered by the death of a local teenager went on the rampage in a satellite city of New Delhi o March 30.The violence erupted after a group of Nigerian students who were detained in connection with the teen's death were released without charge, with police saying there was no evidence against them. The vicious assault was captured on camera and shared widely on social media, triggering concern over a rise in racist violence against Africans in India. Not even a year had passed since Congolese resident M.K. Oliver was murdered in Delhi that reprehensible attacks on African students in India have resurfaced. In 2016 there were brute attacks even in the city of Bengalaru.

What had compounded the grave human rights violations that had errupted into a diplomatic crisis was the fact that BJP MP Tarun Vijay had stated, "If we were racist, why would we have the entire south (India)… which is you know, completely Tamil, you know Kerala, you know Karnataka and Andhra. Why do we live with them …We have blacks, black people around us. You are denying your own nation, you are denying your ancestry, you are denying your culture." Mr Vijay who had made these remarks while participating in a TV debate on racism in India in the context of last week's attacks on Nigerians in Delhi suburb Greater Noida had thereafter 'apologised.'

Within two months of the brutal attacks when India faced the Universal Periodic Review for its human rights record at the United Nations however, no African country made reference to the brutal assaults though they had caused  diplomatic crisis at the time. Only Haiti, in its remarks had brought up the string of racial attacks on African students.
Economics is also a driving factor given that these enrolments by foreign students add substantial amounts to the university's exchequer. The Association of African Students in India had called on the government of India to take concrete steps to protest the lives and properties of all African students in India, and especially in Uttar Pradesh following the recent false allegations laid on five Nigerian students.

They had demanded that :
1. Failure to secure the lives of African students and to ensure maximum security in areas were African students live, we will write to African Union to cut all bi-lateral trade with India.
2. We will ensure that all the local media houses in our respective countries get details of the growing racism which African students are facing in India.
3. We will ensure that a detailed report on the barbaric racism African students are facing in India is sent to the high levels of all African governments and heads of state.
4. We will ask African students in our respective countries to stop making India their study destination with immediate effect.
5. We will call for a nationwide protest inviting all international media houses.

The People's Alliance for Democracy and Seculatism (PADS) had addressed a strong statement to the African Media and Civil Society Information Networks and identified the following reasons or tendencies behind the attacks:

  • First, discriminatory, restrictive and narrow-minded attitudes towards many of  those who are seen by some of us as being different from  ourselves whether in terms of colour, origin, opinions, mannerisms, lifestyle or in the degree of power, resources and influence they may or may not command,  have  strengthened over the years.
  • Second, not only some foreigners but also some of our own people have in recent times been targeted as a consequence of the growth of a  mob mentality among sections of our people  in recent years.
  • Third, there is an increasing tendency on the part of a section of our people to arrive at conclusions on the basis of unverified assumptions and, under cover of these, to take law into their own hands.

Calling for an urgent halt to such brutality and  to bring the miscreants responsible for such criminal conduct to book, the organisation had earnestly hoped that there would be exemplary punishment to  the perpetrators on behalf of the law enforcement authorities and that the Indian government would meet all costs for treatment as also provide adequate protection.



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