style[amp-boilerplate] African students protest against racism after 5 Nigerian students are accused ofcannibalism following death of Indian teenager
TIME

African students protest against racism after 5 Nigerian students are accused ofcannibalism following death of Indian teenager

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Five Nigerian students in Greater Noida, India

were accused of cannibalism after a teenager

went missing on Friday, March 24th.



Manish Khari, a 19-year-old Class 12 student

went for a walk at about 7pm, after an early

dinner on Friday but didn't come home. His

relatives and neighbours set out to look for

him and were later told by someone

who claimed that the teenager had last been

seen with five Nigerian students who lived two

doors away (The police are yet to verify this

claim).



The CCTV cameras in the area were of no help

because they were not working.



The crowd barged into the house but Khari

wasn't there. The fact that the teenager had

supposedly been seen with the five

Nigerians, set off a horrifying rumour: that the

Nigerians had eaten up the young man.



When the crowd entered the home of the

Nigerians, only two of the five occupants were

present. Failing to find Khari there, the crowd

concluded that the Nigerians had killed and

cannibalised the teenager.



The police were eventually called. They took

the two Nigerian men into protective custody,

fearing that the mob would harm them. All

the while, the mob kept insisting that they

should be allowed to interrogate the Nigerian

students.



Amidst the drama, Khari returned to the

enclave on Saturday morning, but he seemed

out of sorts. The fact that he returned home

didn't left the Nigerians off the hook though.

"He looked shocked," said one of Khari's

neighbourhood friends who did not wish

to be identified. "There were injuries on

his foot and he barely could recognise

anyone."



Around an hour after Khari had been escorted

home, his condition deteriorated. He

complained of heart palpitations and started

to vomit. He was rushed to a nearby hospital,

and then referred to another, where he died.

Khari died on Saturday, March 25th, seemingly

of a drug overdose, leading his family to insist

that the police file murder charges against the

Nigerian students.



After Khari was declared dead, the police –

who were unable to speak to the young man

after his return – registered a First

Information Report against the Nigerian

occupants of the neigbouring house on the

basis of a complaint by Khari's parents. The

students identified as Usman Abdul Qadir,

Mohammad Amir, Saeed Kabir, Abdul Usman,

Saeed Abu Waqar, were booked under charges

of murder and causing hurt by means of any

poisonous substance with the intent to commit

an offence.



On Sunday, scores of African students

participated in a demonstration at Kasna

police station in Greater Noida to protest the

murder charges.



"How can someone come up with such

inhuman allegations?" asked Najib

Hamisu Umar, 29, a Nigerian who is

pursuing a PhD in India. "I have lived in

Russia and Germany but never been

through such trauma. The day I leave

India, I shall never come back."



Sujata Singh, Superintendent of Police

(Greater Noida-Rural), said that the five

Nigerians, who study at the Noida

International University, had been

interrogated and booked for murder. But

despite the severity of the charges, the

students were allowed to go on Sunday.



"They had to be released as there is no

evidence against them," Singh said.



On Sunday, security had been beefed up at the

NSG Black Cat Enclave. Visitors were being

asked to meet the enclave management in

order to enter. The Kharis had left for their

village to conduct their son's last rites. The

house the Nigerian students rented was also

vacant.



A group of locals explained how they had

come to the conclusion that the Nigerian

students were cannibals. They said that a

friend of one of the students had visited the

enclave on Friday, and that they recovered a

hacksaw blade from the visitor's car.



The locals also claimed that the police had

seized a variety of drugs from the five

students. However, the police have dismissed

both allegations.



"We have recovered no such thing from

the possession of the suspects," said

Sujata Singh. "We cannot comment

much on the case at this stage as the

final postmortem report is yet to

arrive."



Several locals also claimed to have spoken to

Khari after he returned on Saturday. They

claimed that Khari had been kidnapped by a

dark-skinned person who forced him to inhale

a substance that made him pass out. When he

woke, they said, he found himself lying in the

green belt close to the Yamuna Expressway.



Samuel Abiye Jack, the president of the

Association of African Students in India said

that his group's primary demand was that the

police conduct a fair investigation. It also

wanted the police to lodge a case against local

residents who made the allegations against

the Nigerian students



The students have since been moved to an

undisclosed location for their safety.



The bizarre episode played out in a Greater

Noida township, about 40 km from Delhi. The

NSG Black Cat Enclave, where Manish Khari

lived with his parents in a rented house, is a

colony of independent houses that are owned

by members of the special forces. Khari's

father, Kripal Khari, is a property dealer.



About 300 families live in the enclave.
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