In the wake of recent attacks on nationals from Africa in India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday appealed to citizens with a suggestion. “I appeal to fellow Indians: next time you meet an African citizen, please shake hands and say ‘India loves you,’” she said on Twitter.

Her idea was not the most well-received among Twitterati. Some called her out for generalising Africa as a country, while others ridiculed it by making comparisons with “bhakts”.

Swaraj emphasised on Tuesday that the death of Congolese man Masunda Ketanda Olivier in Delhi was not a racial attack and should not be seen in that context. After meeting with a delegation of African students, Swaraj said she understood the “pain of the Congolese student’s parents who lost their son on foreign soil”. Olivier, 23, was killed in the capital’s Vasant Kunj locality on May 20. He was beaten to death following an altercation over hiring an autorickshaw.