Goa minister apologises for calling Nigerians 'cancer'

Goa minister apologises for calling Nigerians 'cancer'

PANAJI: Goa's Art and Culture Minister Dayanand Mandrekar on Thursday has apologised for calling Nigerians a 'cancer'.

NDTV quoted Mandrekar saying: 'I apologise 100 times and regret my mistake.'

He also added that he felt what he said and his comments did not mean to label the entire Nigerian community.

A day after Nigerians blockaded a major highway protesting against the murder of a compatriot, Mandrekar had said: 'Nigerians are like cancer.'

Earlier, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar denied allegations of racism against Nigerians in the state.

Parrikar said: "It is not racism. If you see earlier history, you will see that more Nigerians are involved in drugs. So people are seeing it that way."

While two village panchayats in Goa have banned renting out houses and rooms to Nigerians students, ruling BJP legislators have also blasted the Nigerian community living in Goa.

BJP legislator Subhash Phaldesai described Nigerians involved in Thursday's violence as wild animals whose bodies are pumped with drugs.

A day after the violence, an association of rent-a-bike owners have resolved to stop renting out two wheelers to Nigerians.

They also put up banners across the coastal belt in north Goa, which says 'No to Nigerians!'

A murder of a Nigerian last week in Parra, 15 km from Panaji, allegedly by a rival drug gang triggered riot-like situation with over 200 Nigerians taking on people as well as the police as they blocked the National Highway-17 demanding consular presence during the post-mortem examination of their compatriot.

The incident triggered a knee-jerk reaction from the state government, which initiated a drive against all foreigners living in Goa on inadequate documents.

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