BENGALURU/NEW DELHI : The Centre has taken serious note of the incident in which a 21-year-old Tanzanian student was allegedly stripped and assaulted by a mob on Sunday night. The shocking incident occurred after an accident that left a woman dead in Ganapathi Nagar.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called up Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after the Tanzanian high commission approached the ministry seeking strict action.
“We are deeply pained over the shameful incident with a Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru,” she tweeted, adding, “I have asked the chief minister to ensure safety and security of all foreign students and stringent punishment for the guilty.”
She said the CM had assured her that a criminal case had been registered and four men were arrested. However, city police said arrests were made only in the accident case.
The incident, near Chikkabanavara, came to light two days later after the woman approached the police top brass. Soladevanahalli and Peenya police had allegedly refused to register her complaint earlier.
The girl, pursuing BBA at Acharya College, had nothing to do with the accident that claimed the life of a woman.
Tanzanian Woman Stripped, Centre Seeks Action
Yet she was attacked by the irate mob that had already torched two cars belonging to foreign students on Sunday evening.
The actual driver was a student from Sudan, who allegedly under the influence of drugs mowed down a woman who was taking a walk.
He was roughed up by eyewitnesses, who also torched his car. Thirty minutes after the incident, the girl, who studies in a college in the vicinity, was passing by.
She was stopped by the mob and allegedly stripped and paraded. Three of her friends were also assaulted, but they managed to escape.
Bosco Owais, legal adviser to the All Indian International Students Association, said, “She had approached the police but they would not register a case. Later, we had to approach top officials of the department.”
The association also got help from the Alternative Law Forum.
Owais said he could understand people were angry after the incident. “But how could they beat up an innocent woman?” he said.
A local who tried to give her a cloth to cover herself up was also thrashed.
Only after the incident hit the headlines did the inspector file an FIR, Owais said.
Sougour Hassan Ahmat, president, Federation of International Students Association (Bengaluru chapter), said foreign students had been hiding in their homes since Sunday.
“We are neither able to go to college nor step outside as the situation for African students is scary. Some students had to skip their exams, fearing attacks by locals. However, the college authorities have promised to reschedule the exams,” he said.
Sources told Express the police tried to play down the incident.
Before Wednesday, the case was registered under IPC Section 149 (unlawful assembly), 145 (joining or continuing in unlawful assembly) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause
damage). When the issue got media attention, a case was registered under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty).
Police did not take the girl’s complaint, but instead asked her to bring the person who had caused the accident when he was already in their custody.
Ashok N, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Yeswanthpur, said the department was looking into allegations of delay in registering a complaint.