Panaji: Fresh television footage telecast by a cable news channel showed Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar taunting media persons, asking if they could take on a Nigerian one-to-one.
The footage, telecast Sunday, came at a time when Goa’s politicians as well as sections of civil society are being criticised for shades of racism in their response to a public clash involving Nigerians and local residents.
“Can you handle a Nigerian one to one? Someone make sure he is covered by insurance,” Parrikar was shown telling reporters on the sidelines of a press conference following the clash involving an angry Nigerian mob on one side and the police and the residents on the other.
The footage was telecast on Prudent Media, a cable news channel on its show ‘Just imagine’, which takes a satirical view of the week’s events.
A Nigerian mob smashed a police vehicle, assaulted policemen and even snatched their sticks while blocking a national highway Oct 31. They were protesting the murder of their compatriot by the drug mafia and demanding the presence of a consular official at the post mortem.
Subsequently, one Nigerian was brutally beaten up by residents in full view of the police.
Earlier Parrikar, while justifying the inability of the police to handle the violence had blamed the sheer physicality of the Nigerians.
“They are huge and aggressive. Some of them are seven feet tall. It would take at least 100 of our policemen to handle a crowd of 50 Nigerians,” Parrikar told reporters.
Other BJP legislators have also levelled serious accusations against Nigerians.
Shortly after the violence Subhash Phaldesai, BJP MLA from Sanguem, described Nigerians as “wild animals” pumped up with drugs.
Art and culture minister Dayanand Mandrekar likened them to cancer, before apologising for his comment.
An English language newspaper went to the extent of using the word ‘Nigro’ while referring to Nigerians while quoting a police officer in its report. The newspaper, however, later apologised.
Two village councils have already resolved to stop house owners from renting rooms to Nigerians within their jurisdiction, even as Nigeria diplomats claimed that their nationals were being targeted and even threatened that Nigeria could respond by throwing Indians living in the African country on the streets.
Expats and Goaphiles like Victoria Miller from Britain says she feels “very sad, angry and disappointed” with some of the responses to the incident.
“I cannot believe the racist, derogatory and disgusting views that some people are expressing and, yes, it has made me question my relationship with Goa where I have spent most of the last seven years,” she says.
Meanwhile, two persons suspected of having murdered the Nigerian Obado Simeon have been arrested by the state police which has said that the killing was a result of rivalry between narcotics gangs.