Angered by rash driving, mob runs amok attacking Africans in Bengaluru
Bengaluru, Mar 11: At least four African nationals were attacked by a gang of around 20 members in Byrathi, near Hennur Road, northeast Bengaluru on Monday night. For nearly three hours, the area was tense due to “riot-like-situation,” during which two policemen also sustained injuries.
The assaults were triggered allegedly after locals were annoyed at high speed, high-decibel driving by an unidentified rider, said to be an African national, and a “rashly-driven” car, also with foreigners in it. Though the two vehicles escaped the barrage of stones that was thrown on them, it was unsuspecting Africans in the area who bore the brunt.
The attacks started around 12.30 a.m. “The mob ran riot till about 3 a.m., attacking any African they saw… I was also threatened for calling the police,” said a resident. John, a businessman in Ivory Coast who was visiting his sister, was among the first to be attacked. He was returning home with his sister and her boyfriend when the mob targeted them. While his sister and her friend took shelter in Christ The King Church nearby, John received multiple injuries as the mob chased him.
Henry (22), a student of Kristu Jayanti College, was also attacked. David and his three friends — Sako, Merveil, Abdel — were walking down the road when they were assaulted. “We didn’t even know why they were hitting us. We feared for our lives,” David told media persons.
Though accusations have been made that the attack had racial undertones, police blamed it on problems the victims had with locals.
The incident came to light in a post by Maria John on Bangalore Police’s Facebook page. The post said around 20 members, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, attacked an African student.
“African student was attacked by the beer bottle and cricket bat. His head and face got open and bleeding (sic). The African student running towards the Shema School in that area. Please help him,” the post read.
Police said an African national, also named John, was visiting his sister who is studying in a city college and is residing in Byrathi. He decided to host a dinner party as he was supposed to fly back soon. After the party, John, his sister and her friend were returning home, when they were confronted by the group, who allegedly attacked them.
John was allegedly chased and beaten up and sustained severe injuries, while his sister and her friend managed to escape and took shelter in a local church. Though John managed to reach home, the angry locals damaged the window panes of his house. John managed to file a police complaint only after a few hours, following which senior police officials reached the spot to take stock of the situation.
In his complaint, John alleged that the group not only attacked him but also took away his valuables, including mobile phone and wallet.
However, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East) Vikas Kumar Vikas refuted any racial angle to the attack and said local residents had complained about the trio creating a ruckus late in the night. The police are investigating the case, he said. Locals too have filed a complaint against the three African nationals accusing them of creating a ruckus.