AMIT PANDEY | 23 JULY, 2020
‘I Thought I Wouldn’t Survive’: African Students Recall Dehradun Campus Assault
Black Lives Matter is the other big news after Coronavirus to have moved the global big media. On July 16, anti-blackness reared its head again in India when a group of men in security uniform assaulted two African students in the presence of college staff at the Roorkee Institute of Technology, Dehradun.
One of the survivors’ friends said that college administration officials were seen directing the attack on these students, who were accused of having left the campus without an ‘outpass’.
A viral video of the assault shows a number of men in uniform brutally beating the two African students. Ibrahim Mohamed, a second-year B.Tech student from Nigeria and Guinea, and Benjamin Djartey, a second-year MBA student from Ghana, were both severely injured in the attack. Both students are currently at the Aarogam Hospital in Roorkee.
In an interview Mohamed recalled: “On that day I came out of my room to meet a friend in his room to get something. The moment I stepped out of his room, I was mobbed by a lot of men in security Uniform asking me to vacate the hostel.
“I declined, because there were some faces which I had seen locally and they are not security guards. When I refused I was dragged and beaten like an Animal.”
“Feeling helpless, I let myself up and got a very painful blow to the head with a huge ring. I felt the pain more when I was being dragged on the stairs. At that moment I thought survival was not an option for me.”
Ibrahim Mohamed and Benjamin Djartey in hospital
Mohamed’s friend Teteh confirmed that the men who attacked him and Djartey were wearing security guard uniforms, as the purported video of the assault also shows.
Here is the clips of how the African was beaten yesterday badly at Roorkee Instituteof Technology by more than 30 attackers. He had sustained head injury and was subsequently hospitalised. @Mvmnt4BlkLives @blklivesmatter #BlackLivesMatter
An Indian school has allegedly hired 30 men to beat up a Nigerian student for breaking the school's regulation.— Instablog9ja (@instablog9ja) July 15, 2020
Ibrahim Diaby Muhammed sustained a head injury and was subsequently hospitalised after men allegedly hired by Roorkee Institute of Technology beat him up. pic.twitter.com/Mv9FGvGSX2
According to Teteh, the logos on the uniforms are for Hawk Commando Security Services, Haridwar. When contacted, proprietor Ashish Trivedi flatly denied the agency provides any security officers to the Roorkee Institute of Technology: “We don’t have any contract with the institute and we don’t provide any security guards to the institute. They may be some other security agency’s guards.”
Attempts to contact members of the college administration were unsuccessful.
Another African student at the college, Francis Korang Yaw, also raised questions about the administration’s handling of the situation.
“In February, we applied to the management for leave to attend Mr Ankur’s wedding but it was denied, so we left to enjoy the beautiful tradition of an Indian marriage. We left around 8:30 PM and returned by 11 PM. But the college did not allow us to reenter and we were fined 2000 rupees the next day.
“The question is that since in both instances we went out without permission, and the first punishment was being kept out of college for the night and a fine, could they not have fined Ibrahim on this occasion too?
“Is the treatment in such cases the same for our colleague Indian students?” asked Yaw.
He went on to say that Dr Amit Tanwar, dean of academics and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ankur from the human resources office, Mr Aayush, a relative of the chairman of the school, and the boys’ hostel warden were all present during the assault.
“These people are still out, and need to be apprehended by police,” said Yaw.
Teteh confirmed that college administration officials were present and directing these goons.
Mohamed recalled: “Reaching outside, I looked back to see the school authorities satisfied with what was going on, and I couldn’t believe it had happened.”
Police Circle Officer Abhay Kumar told The Indian Express that “Some college sources have also said that the two were trying to leave the hostel in violation of rules, and security staff tried to stop them, which led to the clash. We are investigating the matter.”
Media reports say the director of the institute Parag Jain has been arrested along with deputy CEO Shrikant and six security guards - Yogesh, Khushiram, Sonu, Ashish, Lalit and Munendra Chauhan - for the attack on Ibrahim Mohamed and Benjamin Djartey, and an FIR filed under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 325 and 504 of the penal code.
FIR copy (sent by Francis Korang Yaw)
According to the All India Survey of Higher Education 2017-18, Nigeria together with Sudan accounts for the third highest number of foreign students in India. Another report estimates that some 25,000 African students are currently enrolled at 500 public and private universities in the country, with the number expected to increase.
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