Stepping up its outreach in the wake of string of attacks against African nationals, government today announced a slew of steps including a major sensitisation campaign even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the killing of a Congolese youth was not a “racial crime”. Swaraj, along with her junior Minister V K Singh, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior officials, met a group of African envoys and students who raised concerns over safety and security to which she assured that government was working on a “major strategy” under which an institutional mechanism will be put in place.She also said that the government was committed to a fast-track trial in the case of killing of the Congolese national Masonda Ketada Oliver and “harshest possible punishment” for the culprits.Terming the killing of Oliver “barbaric”, Swaraj, however, said, “it is not a case of racial crime as the CCTV footage shows that the local residents who tried to save Oliver were also attacked.””The ministry will be carrying out a sensitization campaign across the country as such incidents are bad for the image of the country. An advisory will also be issued to the states to sensitise people in the areas where there is a big number of African nationals,” Swaraj said.This was Swaraj’s first official engagement in the Ministry after being discharged from AIIMS on May 15 where she was admitted for three weeks due to pneumonia.During the meeting she also thanked the African students for calling off their protest at Jantar Mantar today following assurances by the Ministry. She also appreciated the participation of African envoys at the India-hosted Africa Day celebration last week.
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