Five Nigerian students were beaten and badly wounded by an angry mob on March 27th in Noida, a town in Uttar Pradesh state.The attack came as a result of allegations that linked them to the death of a 17-year-old Indian student, Manish Kharih, who allegedly died as a result of a drug overdose. The parents of the Indian student and the community blamed the Nigerian students in the area for giving him the drugs. Two of the victims are siblings, Precious and Endurance Amarawa. In the racially motivated attack, the mob surrounded the brothers, "chased them, dragged them out of their hiding place and thrashed them." According to an article posted on an Indian online news site.

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On Wednesday 29th March, The Federal Government asked the Indian Government to ensure an immediate arrest and prosecution of those who were responsible for the attack in the Indian university. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassador Olusola Enikanolaiye, made the call in a meeting held in the capital of #Nigeria, Abuja, on the issue with the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, ambassador Nagabushana Reddy.

Twitter fingers and keyboard warriors

"On Monday evening, we were shopping in Ansal Plaza when suddenly a mob attacked us viciously. When we tried to enter a showroom to save ourselves, the staff refused to let us inside," said 24-year old victim Precious Amalcima. The videos of the attack detailed total brutality and barbarianism. The fact that they were not allowed into the showroom to seek refuge and were instead left as gator-bate for the blood-thirsty mob, is not a detail that should be forgotten.

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This denial of entry sheds light on a bigger issue of racial discrimination in the social fabric of #india.

Ambassador Enikanolaiye correctly described the incident as "disturbing" in a tweet. Since the attack however, many Indians have taken to social media to condemn the actions of the mob and to vent their disgust; professing that this is not a true reflection of the treatment that Africans face in India. Maybe they were trying to convince themselves that this really was a one-off incident? My immediate thought is to question how these keyboard warriors can explain why it was a large mob of Indian citizens who needed no apparent persuading to attack 5 African men with bins, fists, kicks and chairs? Numbers don't lie. They were not an angry group of residents who sought justice, they were a villainous gang who used their intolerance of Africans to galvanise and excite their desire to join in on the racially incited assault.

An isolated incident?

Hate crimes, discrimination, and racially motivated attacks against Africans in India is nothing new; the recent attack on the five Nigerian students was merely one that was recorded.

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This particular incident may have received more coverage due to the increase of citizen journalism. This, combined with the increased availability of mobile devices which have given people the freedom to record incidents, may have contributed to the coverage of this story in highlighting a deeper issue of #Racism in India and all around the world.

"This is not the first time this has happened; Nigerians have suffered similar attacks in the past, so what we would like to see on this occasion is that the perpetrator be arrested." Ambassador Enikanolaiye expressed concern that this incident was not the first of its kind as Nigerians have been attacked in the past by Indians. Residents claim that the student was provided the drugs by Africans who reside in the Greater Noida area and have demanded that the Nigerian students be charged with his murder.

The bigger picture is not complete without colour

"We kept crying for help but no one came, not even the security marshals. I was running but they followed me and wanted to kill me," Endurance Amarawa told NDTV. The video of the victims detailing the incident through sore mouths, broken spirit and bruised bodies has been shared on social media websites.

There have been many reports in recent years detailing the racial abuse that Africans in India face as a result of false rhetoric about African's being kidnappers, lazy, dirty and criminal. As if the beating was not dehumanising enough, the Nigerian students were also falsely accused of cannibalism. Yes, cannibalism. It would be irresponsible to pretend as if racial discrimination against Africans is not as problematic as what it really is. Denying it is not an option.

In a 2016 article on an Indian online news website, Odele Emmanuel Opeyemi- a Nigerian man living in India- said "When I sit down in the Metro, people sit away from me. Even old men and women will stand up as if any contact with me will give them a disease." The same article stated that "Africans are routinely perceived as either prostitutes or drug dealers." The racial indignities that Africans are systematically subjected to "usually go undocumented both by the police and local media." The brutal murder of Congolese student Masunda Kitada Oliver on May 20th 2016, in which he was hit on the head with a rock and died, as a result of an altercation with three Indian men was one that was a step in the right direction as this received at least some attention. How many more have been allowed to go unreported?

Conclusion

Racism shows its ugly face every day, so much so that a lot of people have become desensitised from it and now begin to almost see its beauty as and when it benefits them. There seem to be very few places left in the world where Africans can exist live without being met with hostility and subjected to stigma. The double standards on racism in India and other Asian countries is toxic in the way colonisation has crated this paradigm in which Asians- who also suffer from racism- are also practicing racism against Africans too.

The aggression that Africans usually face globally, simply for being themselves, has become dangerously normalised as there is a systematic insensitivity towards the suffering of black people. To internalise this idea that being from Africa somehow makes a person less worthy of a peaceful life is a mental illness. Damaging beliefs about Africans have been spread across countries like a wicked game of Chinese-whispers. Will it ever truly stop? If so, when and how? As an African, I would love to know myself.