NEW DELHI: Three African students were attacked by a mob in New Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk Metro Station on Sunday evening. A video posted to YouTube shows the three students being beaten with belts, shoes, rods and glass, with the police making a half-hearted attempt to intervene.

The attack was stopped when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, who stand guard at metro stations, dispersed the crowd, after which the three students were taken to a nearby hospital. No arrests have been made although a case has been registered against unknown people for rioting.

Reports suggest that the attack started as rumours spread that the three students had harassed a woman on a train. However, this has not been confirmed nor has a complaint been filed.

The three students were from Gabon and Burkina Faso, and the ambassadors of the two countries have written to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking a “fair probe” into the attack. The statement expressed “deep concern” and asked the government to "work in close cooperation with police for a fair investigation".

The Indian government condemned the attack, albeit four days after it happened, and assured the envoys that the police were investigating the attack. The government said that it has “zero tolerance for racism” and will be sharing details of the police inquiry into the attack.

The attack has cemented Delhi’s reputation as a deeply intolerant city, with attacks on northeastern students, including the brutal beating of Nido Taniam, prompting the government to form a committee to assess the concerns of students from the northeast. The committee concluded that Delhi could be termed the country’s most racist city -- with 300 cases of discrimination being recorded by the committee between February and June.

The reaction on social media to the incident on Sunday evening highlighted Delhi’s casual racism, with a majority of Tweets and Facebook posts condemning the attack.