The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Centre's reaction to the statement by African diplomats shows a worrying myopia

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Call it racism

The Indian government now objects to a statement of the obvious. After a spate of attacks on Africans living in Greater Noida, including a brutal assault in a mall captured on a chilling video, the chiefs of mission of 43 African countries said New Delhi had not taken “known, sufficient and visible” deterrent action. They also pointed out that the attack was “xenophobic and racial in nature” and called for an independent investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council and other human rights bodies.

Delhi’s huffy response to such damning criticism boiled down to this: a “criminal act” that followed the suspicious death of a young Indian student could not be described as racist, and the government had done plenty to address it, why it had even discussed the episode in Parliament and put out a detailed statement on it.

There is something more worrying than diplomatic ineptness at work here. First, the attempt to drain the attacks of racial politics and recast them as stray criminal acts. It takes a deliberate myopia to do so. The lurid rumours of cannibalism that spread after the death of Manish Khari, the Indian student, were racialised to begin with. And in the immediate aftermath of the death, the police took two Nigerians into custody, not because they were believed guilty at that point, but to protect them from an angry mob. Then, the police booked five Nigerian men under charges of murder, following a complaint by Khari’s parents. The spate of attacks that followed involved large numbers of people in several separate incidents. The victims had no link to the murder case apart from the fact that they were African, just as the men accused of the crime were African.

Second, the police have arrested seven people and booked another 600 for rioting, but if previous cases are anything to go by, the prospects of prosecution are bleak. In 2014, a mob set upon three students from Gabon and Burkina Faso in Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk metro station, yet no one was arrested. In 2015, the case was closed. Also in 2014, sometime Delhi law minister and Aam Aadmi Party legislator Somnath Bharti had led a raid on Africans living in Khirki Extension. Though his party gave the go ahead to prosecute him and a chargesheet was filed, Bharti remains largely unscathed, while the roster of cases against him lengthens.

If such appalling incidents are to be prevented in future, the government needs to recognise the Greater Noida attacks for what they were, acts of racial violence not hooliganism, and ensure time bound prosecutions. Failing to do so would compound the offence.

The Big Scroll

Nishita Jha speaks to Nigerian students living in Greater Noida, drawn by the promise of better education, trapped in half-deserted apartment complexes on the peripheries of the city.

Abhishek Dey investigates the incidents of violence in Greater Noida.

Political pickings

  1. The Dalai Lama is set to arrive in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh today.
  2. The National Iinvestigation Agency has cleared senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Indresh Kumar, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and two others of all charges in the 2007 Ajmer blast case.
  3. The Election Commission, faced with charges that electronic voting machines were manipulated or tampered with, promises an “open challenge” to prove the infallibility of the machines.

Punditry

  1. In the Indian Express, Upendra Baxi on how the Finance Bill violates constitutional proprieties.
  2. In the Hindu, Tabish Khair on the curse of the “strong leader”.
  3. In the Telegraph, Kanwal Sibal argues that India needs to keep up old ties with Russia.

Giggles

Don’t miss...

Priyanka Vora on how the death of a woman who went through a sex-selective abortion exposed an inter-state racket:

“Jadhav also told the police that his daughter was unhappy. ‘Tila khup darpan hota,’ said Jadhav. She was in acute stress. He said that after her first daughter was born, Praveen Jamdade and his family harassed her and things got worse after their second daughter was born. Praveen Jamdade had supposedly called Jadhav a few days before Swati Jamdade’s death to say that he was taking her to Mhaisal for an abortion.

‘When he told me that Swati is pregnant with a girl, I asked him not to do anything and accept whatever God gave,’ said Jadhav. However, Jadhav said, that Praveen Jamdade insisted that his wife should get an abortion: ‘Tyala pishvi khali karaichi hoti.’ He wanted to empty the uterus.

The police and district health authorities went to Bharti Hospital and found Khidrapure absconding. The police arrested and interrogated Sandeep Vanmore, a helper at the clinic, who told the police that illegal abortions took place in the hospital. An arts graduate, Vanmore had been working at the hospital for five years.”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

Play
Play
Play

2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.