Ten days after Congolese national Masonga Kitanda Olivier was beaten to death by three men in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, his uncle and cousin arrived in the capital on Monday morning to take his body back to Kinshasa.
Significantly, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday expressed concern over the attacks on Africans.
Meanwhile, India has assured a speedy trial in the case. This was conveyed by a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs, who met Olivier’s family members on their arrival at the airport here.
Olivier’s friends told The Indian Express that his family was in shock, and could not gather the strength to see his body that is lying in a mortuary at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Officials said the body has been embalmed and is ready to be handed over to the family, but nobody has approached the hospital yet.
After a day-long flight from Kinshasa to Delhi, Olivier’s maternal uncle, Tony Kanyinda, shuttled between the Embassy of Congo in Safdarjung Enclave and the new office of the Ministry of External Affairs at Jawahar Bhawan. Escorted by embassy officials, he met a number of government officials to discuss the procedure for taking Olivier’s body back home.
“Olivier grew up with me in the same house and we were very close. The reality of the incident has still not sunk in. His father is unwell. So my father raised him and sponsored his entire education,” recalled Michel Kitanda, Olivier’s cousin, who studies in Delhi.
“When the incident took place, only a few people knew about it. At the stroke of midnight, his Facebook page was flooded with birthday wishes, but he was not there to read any of that. It was so painful for us,” he said.
Olivier died on May 20, minutes before his 24th birthday. He was the oldest of five brothers and had come to Delhi in 2013 for higher studies. He had recently started teaching French at a private institute in South Extension.
Meanwhile, the outraged community of African nationals in the capital has planned a protest rally on Tuesday morning. Olivier’s family will lead the protest to demand justice for his murder.
In a damage control exercise, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar assured that safety and security of the African community is an “article of faith” for the government. Jaishankar met a group of African students who raised their concern about a host of issues, including better security.
“Foreign Secretary to students: Ensuring safety and security of foreign students is an article of faith for us,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.