PANAJI: Notwithstanding Centre's damage-control efforts after the row over attack on African nationals, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar today sparked fresh furore with his remark that people in general are angry with Nigerians because of their "different attitude".
"In general, people are angry with Nigerians and not other foreigners. I feel they (Nigerians) have a different attitude," Parsekar told PTI without elaborating. The CM was responding to a question on recent allegations of rape against a Nigerian national in Goa and racial attacks in Delhi.
"We get people from all other countries, but in general the people of Goa are very much annoyed with their behaviour, attitude, their way of life...because on many occasions I hear complaints against Nigerians," said Parsekar, who heads the BJP government in the coastal state.
His remarks drew flak from Opposition Congress which alleged that it reflected the "racist attitude" of the BJP government. "First (MoS) V K Singh, now Goa Chief Minister belonging to BJP is passing disparaging remarks against people from African continent and nations including Nigeria," Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
"Don't they realize that we have historical relationship with the entire African continent including the struggle which Mahatma Gandhi led in Africa. The manner in which we are humiliating tourists, especially from African nations speaks volumes about the racist attitude of the BJP government," he said.
Responding to another question, Parsekar said the state government is scouting for a place to house foreigners illegally staying in the state. "Not just Nigerians. We will keep all the foreigners staying illegally in the state in this detention facility," he said.
"We are searching for the place to have detention facility. We can even convert any of the existing establishments into the facility," Parsekar said. There have been a series of attacks on African nationals in the last few days including killing of a Congolese youth in national capital and assault on a 23-year-old Nigerian student in Hyderabad, drawing outrage from African envoys.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday announced a slew of steps including a country-wide sensitisation campaign even as she asserted that the killing of a Congolese youth was not a "racial crime".
Swaraj, who along with her junior Minister V K Singh, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior officials met a group of African envoys and students in Delhi, also asserted that India, which is the land of Gandhi and Buddha and fought consistently against racial discrimination, can never have a racist mindset.