For a couple of days now, Goa has been in some turmoil after a Nigerian national was stabbed to death there in what was is said to be a turf war over control of the drug trade in North Goa. After the killing, nearly 200 Nigerians blocked the National Highway-17 for four hours to protest against the murder.
The killing and subsequent tension has had a ripple effect, with the police cracking down on Nigerians staying illegally in various parts of the city. While the action against illegal residents is certainly justified, it is shocking that a Nigerian minister has gone on record warning of reprisal action against Indians living in Nigeria in what is seen as a tit-for-tat response.
It is also equally disappointing that some Nigerians here have faced racist barbs and drug dealer stereotypes, with some saying that their landlords in Goa have told them to vacate the premises overnight and many have called them blacks or ‘kallus’. The focus should be on stamping out the drug menace rather than nationality or colour of persons. Let this murder spur the authorities to crack down on the drug trade in feniland.
In Mumbai too, let us focus on the crime rather than the colour of persons and let one not tarnish an entire community with the same brush.
Mumbaikars must be wary of loose talk and shun stereotypes. Nigerians must ensure that they have correct papers when staying in the city; if they don’t, they can expect action, like would happen in any other country or city in the world, not just Mumbai or India. On the other hand, violence as response to any kind of police action or checking, blocking of highways and disrupting life, pelting stones on officers is simply unacceptable. All this cements stereotypes and furthers
acrimony between both sides.