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Attacks on Africans in UP ‘very worrisome’: Cong

New Delhi: The Congress today expressed serious concern over the attacks on Africans in Greater Noida and alleged that the law and order was deteriorating fast in Uttar Pradesh under the new BJP dispensation.

The opposition party also accused the BJP of trying to “politicise” national symbols and use them to “divide” people, referring to the barring of some councillors from attending Meerut Municipal Corporation meets over their refusal to sing ‘Vande Mataram’.

Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda appealed to people to rise above suspicion and not yield to rumours about people indulging in illegal activities.

“The issue is very delicate. It is a very worrisome thing that the new government has come in and is unable to demonstrate its ability in terms of law and order.

“Its inability to show that Indians and our guests from abroad are not able to live in harmony without being attacked is a matter of great concern. Law and order is deteriorating so quickly under the new government,” he said.

Four Nigerian students were attacked by a group of Greater Noida residents who took out a candle-light march after a 17-year-old boy Manish died last week in the NSG Black Cats Enclave due to suspected drug overdose.

He said if there is a racist element to these attacks, one would recall Jawaharlal Nehru’s role during the freedom movement when such a movement was not just within India but in other parts of the world also.

“We were part of an anti-colonial movement across the world. We have seen a feeling of brotherhood and bonding with Africa and there has been a brotherhood bonding,” he said, adding that this gives people of India and Africa a historical connection.

“Instead of that what we see is attacks on them on basis of skin colour. These are not positive measures…We appeal to people to rise above suspicion, to not yield to loose talks about people indulging in illegal activities,” he said.

Asked about some corporators refusing to sing ‘Vande Mataram’ in the Meerut civic body, Gowda said, “‘Vande Mataram’ is a song that inspired the Congress Party in the freedom movement.”

He said it is the national song. In Parliament, it is an accepted practice for ‘Vande Mataram’ to be played at the end of session, that starts with the National anthem.

The Congress leader noted that these are all customs and practices that should be the basis for consensus and this is something that should be celebrated.

“It is a matter of concern that symbols of the nation such as the National Anthem and the National Song are being politicised by the BJP. They are trying to use these in some ways to try and divide the people.

“We would trust everyone to believe that these are integral to what India is and to celebrate Indianness by honouring and respecting the National Song,” he said.

—PTI