The Ministry of External Affairs continues to remain worried about the fallout of the midnight raid led by Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti on African nationals.
The MEA has promised to give a detailed report to African envoys on the incident after collating information from “concerned authorities”. “The Ugandan High Commission officials were on a holiday and the immediate need to communicate our situation does indicate that this is a matter of concern and we indicated this… and this was also communicated by African colleagues,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said on Thursday. He was referring to the urgent meeting of diplomatic missions from Africa convened by the MEA on Saturday evening, following the outcry over the incident in which four Ugandan women were forced to go through a drug test.
“That said, they were concerned of any tendencies being reported in media and that’s why they asked for more detailed report based on fact and we will provide it to them after collating from concerned authorities,” said Akbaruddin.He pointed out that there were no representatives from Ugandan High Commission at the Saturday meeting.
After a relatively junior High Commission official returned to his post this week, he told the ministry that nobody from the mission has been “in touch with any government authorities of any hue and colour”. Other senior officials will be returning from their holiday next week.
Akbaruddin pointed out that relations between India and Africa were rooted in common history of struggle against colonialism and apartheid. “Let us not forget that father of nation Mahatma Gandhi honed his passive resistance tools on African soil, so racism is anathema to us,” he said. “Africa is major partner and what has happened does not reflect in our ties with Africa,” he said.
The Delhi Law Minister had claimed that an official of the Ugandan high commission had met him, but refused to disclose the name. Bharti had also circulated a letter that talks about a Ugandan national being forced into sex work.