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'Will never turn our eyes away from racism': EAM Jaishankar promises justice for Rashmi Samant

Mar 15, 2021, 2:10 PM IST

Days after an Indian student was racially targeted post her election as the Oxford University Students Union (OUSU) president, the Indian government has assured that the matter will be raised with British authorities.

Responding to concerns raised by Rajya Sabha members with regard to instances of racism involving Indian students in the United Kingdom, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India will always champion the fight against racism and other forms of intolerance. 

In his reply, the minister said: "As the land of Mahatma Gandhi, we can never ever turn our eyes away from racism. Particularly so when it is in a country where we have such a large diaspora. We will take up such matters with great candour when required."

"We will monitor these developments very very closely," Jaishankar said. 

Raising the issue, BJP's Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha Ashwini Vaishnav said, "There appears to be a continuation of attitudes and prejudices from the colonial areas, especially in the UK. The recent case of Rashmi Samant, a student from Karnataka is a classic case in point."

"She overcame all the challenges to become the first Indian woman president of Oxford University student's union. What treatment was meted out to her? Shouldn't this diversity be celebrated, instead she was cyberbullied to the point that she had to resign," he added. 

Hailing from Karnataka, Rashmi Samant was recently elected as the first Indian origin president of the Oxford University Students Union. Her tenure was to begin in June this year. 

However, Oxford University asked her to resign after a vitriolic social media campaign was launched against her. Some of her old social media posts cropped up and were termed as 'racist', 'anti-semitic' and 'transphobic'. 

After this incident, Indians on social media platforms, especially on Twitter, criticised Oxford University and termed it as being 'anti-Hindu'.

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