Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar today sparked a fresh row stating that people are “annoyed” with Nigerians because of their “different attitude” unlike other foreigners and that his government was looking for a place to detain foreigners illegally staying in Goa.
His remarks came even as the Centre initiated damage control exercise over recent attacks on African nationals in Delhi.
“In general, people are angry with Nigerians and not other foreigners. I feel they (Nigerians) have a different attitude,” Parsekar told PTI.
Parsekar, who heads the BJP Government of the coastal state that attracts a large number of foreign tourists, was responding to a question on recent allegations of rape against a Nigerian national in Goa and alleged racial attacks in Delhi.
“We get people from all other countries, but in general the people of Goa are very much annoyed with their behaviour, attitude, their way of life…because on many occasions I hear complaints against Nigerians,” he said.
Goa has sizeable number of Nigerians, some of whom are booked in narcotic-related cases, an official said.
Opposition Congress slammed Parsekar for his remarks, saying it reflected the “racist attitude” of the BJP government.
“First (MoS) V K Singh, now Goa Chief Minister belonging to BJP is passing disparaging remarks against people from African continent and nations including Nigeria,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
“Don’t they realise that we have historical relationship with the entire African continent including the struggle which Mahatma Gandhi led in Africa. The manner in which we are humiliating tourists, especially from African nations speaks volumes about the racist attitude of the BJP government,” he said.
Parsekar also said the state government is scouting for a place to house foreigners illegally staying in Goa.
“Not just Nigerians. We will keep all foreigners staying illegally in the state in this detention facility,” he said.
“We are searching for a place to have a detention facility. We can even convert any of the existing establishments into the facility,” Parsekar said.
There have been a series of attacks on African nationals in the last few days including killing of a Congolese youth in national capital and assault on a 23-year-old Nigerian student in Hyderabad, drawing outrage from African envoys.
The Chief Minister’s statement comes two days after State Tourism minister Dilip Parulekar said that Nigerians are involved in creating trouble across the country.