Tanzanian ambassador to India John WH Kijazi on Thursday said there was an element of racism in the brutal assault of a Tanzanian woman by a mob in Bengaluru. The woman claimed that she had been stripped and paraded naked by a mob of about 200 people on Sunday night.
Reports of the mob attack broke on Wednesday, stating that the 21-year-old student was targeted after a Sudanese man ran over a woman with his car in Bengaluru's Hesaraghatta area on Sunday.
"She was attacked because she was black like the guy who caused the accident," Kijazi told ANI news agency on Thursday. "Everybody is entitled to their own assessment, but there is an element of mob justice and racism," he said.
The Bengaluru police have reportedly arrested five people in connection with the attack.
The Tanzanian woman claimed that she was travelling with four others in a car on Sunday night when she was pulled out and stripped. The mob also set the car on fire.
However, Karnataka's home minister on Thursday refuted claims that the woman was stripped and paraded naked. He also said it was not a racist attack.
"The attack on the Tanzanian student was a not a racial attack. It was in response to an earlier incident," Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara said during a press briefing on Thursday, as reported by The Times of India.
The woman has reportedly told the Bengaluru police that when she boarded a public bus to escape the mob, the passengers pushed her out.
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter on Wednesday to condemn the attack.
"We are deeply pained over the shameful incident with a Tanzanian girl in Bengaluru. I have asked the Chief Minister of Karnataka to ensure safety and security of all foreign students and stringent punishment for the guilty," Swaraj said.