HYDERABAD: The brutal assault on a Tanzanian student after she was allegedly abused, stripped and humiliated by a mob in Bengaluru may have come as a shock to the nation but not to hundreds of students from that country pursuing their studies in India. Racial discrimination against them, as they say, is a daily affair.
Hyderabad has been home to one of the largest student community hailing from East African(EA) countries. There are over 13,000 African students and about 200 Tanzanian students in Hyderabad. The student community from the East African country shared their experience with Express on Thursday.
Kelvin Kinunda, president of Tanzanian Students Association in Hyderabad, and a 2nd year student of MBA at JNTU, termed the Bengaluru incident as inhumane. “Miscreants chopped off the head of a Tanzanian student and threw it on a railway track in 2011. It is not the first incident of its kind,” he said.
Kelvin, who graduated from Osmania University, has been living in Hyderabad for five years now. “Once you know how it feels being humiliated in another country, you will never do it to your guests. We want the government to look into it seriously and ensure our safety,” he added.
Expressing his anguish, Kenny Alex, a III year BSc Electronics student at Bhavans Vivekananda College in Sainikpuri said that East African students are always targeted. “We are not shocked at the news but we condemn it. We don’t understand why we, East African students, are always targeted. We are often blamed and abused for the mistakes committed by a few,” he rued . Alex, who is also the PRO for Tanzanian Students’ Association in Hyderabad, pointed out that every time they hold a get-together or party, they are at the risk of a police raid. “They say we do naked parties, we do drugs. Police raid us and media write false stories,” he lamented.
Richard Mech Makumba, a III year B Com student at Nizam College, said Hyderabad is still his favourite destination in India. “I have a lot of friends here and I love living here,” he said.
Hilal K Juma, a Tanzanian pursuing final year B Com at Bhavans Vivekananda College, Sainikpuri opined that it is due to the lack of social awareness among certain sections of the society. “We are not stealing your opportunities, jobs or wealth. We come here to study. I don’t understand why the community is hostile to us,” he lamented.
Sharing his view, Abubacker Abdalla Moosa, a student from Kenya pointed out that Indians are not discriminated in their country. “There are so many Indians living in East African countries and some of them are super-rich. Yet, we treat them as brothers,” he said. According to Moosa, men are less discriminated against when compared to women. “It is true our women are attractive. But that does not mean they can be paid and taken home” he rued.
African Students to Hold Demo
The African Students Association-Telangana (ASA-TS) in solidarity with the students in Bengaluru are planning to hold a peace demonstration in Hyderabad on Saturday. Announcing the decision, Emmanuel Omurunga, chairman of the association and a second year LLB student at OU, said: “We face a lot of problems here. We want to ensure a proper interaction between our community and the host community. We also want a forum where police can take cognizance of our complaints.”