NRIs; Kenya violence targets Gujaratis

Kenya violence targets Gujaratis
2 Jan 2008, 0000 hrs IST , Sachin Sharma & Darshana Chaturvedi , TNN
VADODARA: Ever since post-election riots broke out in Kenya, the Gujarati diaspora there has been living in fear. Although no lives have been lost, there has been massive damage to property and businesses owned by Indians, particularly Gujaratis.

In the small town of Kisumu near Nairobi, almost three out of every four businesses owned by Indians have been burnt down, residents said. Many Indians have been holed up in temples for the past two days and are gradually running out of food.

There are close to one lakh Indians in Kenya with 3,000 in Kisumu, the worst-hit town. Kisumu is the stronghold of defeated presidential challenger Raila Odinga. His party, the Orange Democratic Movement, has accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the elections. Kibaki won after results were declared on Sunday. Since then, some 300 people have been killed in widespread violence across the country.

Anand Rana, a resident of Kisumu, said, “The town has come to a standstill. Supermarkets and shops are charred beyond recognition. Most Gujaratis are staying in the Swaminarayan temple in Kisumu. We ventured out on Tuesday to take stock of the situation. Almost three-fourths of Indian businesses have incurred huge losses.”

Amit Shah, who lives in Nairobi, said the situation was grim on the outskirts of the capital. “The riots have resulted in massive damage to Indian properties.” Shail Patel from Nairobi, who is in Gujarat now, said things are under control in the city with the government deploying troops and imposing curfew. var RN = new String (Math.random()); var RNS = RN.substring (2,11); var b2 = ‘ ‘; if (doweshowbellyad==1) bellyad.innerHTML = b2; Help violence-hit expats in Kenya, Modi urges PM


2 Jan 2008, 1827 hrs IST , ANI
AHMEDABAD: Expressing concern over attacks on Gujarati expatriates in Kenya, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to ensure their safety in that country.

Modi has asked Dr. Manmohan Singh to take up the issue with the Kenyan Government to ensure safety of Gujaratis in Kenya.

In his letter, Modi voiced concern over the safety of about 400 Gujaratis who have taken shelter in a Swaminarayan temple in Kisumu, a town located in Western part of Kenya.

“I request the Indian Government to immediately beef up security for our Indian brothers in Kenya. Indian youth in Kenya who want to return should be brought back, and if required through the sea route or they should be taken to Nirobi and arrangements made for their stay there. Since their houses have been burnt, missing documents must be overlooked and they should be allowed to move to safer areas without any hitch, keeping in mind their Indian blood,” said Modi.

Ever since post-election riots broke out in Kenya, the Gujarati diaspora has been living in fear.

Hundreds of Gujarati businessmen have taken shelter in a temple in the Kenyan town of Kisumu after the violence.

Offices and factories belonging to Gujaratis had been looted and their houses attacked by residents.

With defeated Kenyan presidential challenger Raila Odinga sticking to his guns after an allegedly rigged election and freshly re-elected President Mwai Kibaki vowing to assert his authority, the east African nation is locked in a crippling crisis.

Scores of people were killed and several thousand have fled after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner in a disputed election. The estimated death toll has risen to about 250 till today.

Police beat protesters and flushed looters out of buildings in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, which is within opposition leader Raila Odinga’s constituency.

Kenyan opposition supporters burnt houses in Nairobi’s Korogocho slum as police fired teargas and shots in the air to disperse the crowd.

Much of the fighting pitched Luos, who support opposition leader Raila Odinga, against Kibaki’s ethnic Kikuyu group.

There are about 43,000 Gujaratis in Nairobi and about 3,000 in Kisumu.

Posted in Advocacy and Activism, Security.

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