Congolese national beaten to death in brawl over auto ride

Three men hit him with stones; one of them has been arrested. Police say it wasn’t a racist attack

New Delhi: A 23-year-old Congolese national was allegedly beaten to death late on Friday by a group of men following a brawl over hiring an autorickshaw in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area.

One attacker, Mobin Azad Saifi (23), has been arrested and two others — Mukesh and Prakash — are at large. Efforts are on to nab them, DCP (South) Ishwar Singh said.

While African nationals in the area alleged that the attack was on racial lines, senior police officers said this was not an incident of hate crime.

Battered repeatedly
Police said around 11.45 pm on Friday, Masonda Ketanda Olivier, who came to India on a student visa in 2012, was returning from the residence of a Congolese friend at Kishangarh locality in Vasant Kunj. While waiting for an autorickshaw, his friend, who accompanied him, went to a nearby shop to buy cigarettes. When an autorickshaw arrived, a group of three men stepped inside before Olivier could. This led to a heated exchange of words, which soon turned into a brawl. The group pounced on Olivier. As he tried to escape, they chased him for around 20-25 metres and attacked him again with stones. He was rushed to the hospital with a deep wound to the head, but was declared brought dead.

Olivier lived in South Extension and taught foreign languages at a private institute.

Hate crime redux?
The incident comes just months after a Tanzanian woman was allegedly stripped and beaten on the streets in Bengaluru after a road accident in January to which she had no connection. The Karnataka government had suspended six police officers, including a senior official, over the assault.

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