An activist in India has become the first person from a tiny African-origin ethnic group to become a legislator in the country.

Shantaram Siddi is from the Siddhi community – descendants of Africans who travelled to India as merchants or slaves from the 17th Century onwards. Only about 50,000 remain.

He has been appointed to the assembly in the state of Karnataka. He’s also the first college graduate from his community.

He said he would continue to work for the rights of India’s tribes.

Speaking of his joy at the announcement, Mr Siddi told news site The Hindu: “I thought someone may be playing a prank.”

A message on his social media read: “I thought someone may be playing a prank. I went home for lunch. It was then that my wife and I started getting calls continuously, congratulating me for the nomination,’’ says Shantaram Siddi, the first from his community in any house of legislature – — Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) July 23, 2020.”