Protest Against Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s Racist Vigilantism in Delhi: Kavita Krishnan

Guest Post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

Many of us have felt disturbed by the implications of the incident involving the Delhi Law Minister’s attempted raid on African nationals in Khidki village.

The Minister, Somnath Bharti, (a member of the Aam Aadmii Party) insisted that the police conduct a raid minus a search warrant. Two African women have said, on record, that they were subjected to racist abuse (‘black people break laws’) and beaten by a mob of people (the Minister’s supporters), and that it was the Delhi police who protected them from the mob violence.

[ See Aditya Nigam’s post on the same issue in Kafila earlier ]

There are also reports that one of the women was forced to give a urine sample in public. The women were also subjected to cavity searches and tests – none of which yielded any sign of drugs. The violence against the women was defended in the name of anger against ‘prostitution’ and ‘drug peddling’, while no proof of the same has been presented as yet. In any case, the treatment meted out to the women cannot be justified even if they were indeed prostitutes!

According to news reports, the Minister, Somnath Bharti, asked locals to draw up a list of African nationals’ residences – ‘jahan aise log rehte hain/where such people live’, vowing to raid and search each of these homes. He also told media, “I have received a lot of complaints from women in this locality against foreign nationals, yeh hum aur aap jaise nahin hain (They are not like you or me).”

If indeed the Minister has any intelligence input, or proof, of illegal activity, he must pursue action in a way that responsibly avoids fanning up racist prejudices. When Delhi police fails to uphold its legal, constitutional duty, we all protest, and we will be glad to have the Delhi Govt and its Ministers also join us. But for a Minister to instigate Police to violate the law and people’s liberties and rights; to ask the police to approve of and bless mob violence against African people, is totally unacceptable.

The Delhi CM should have met the African women who complained of racism, violence and humiliation. He should have accepted that in this particular instance, the Delhi Police were perfectly right not to raid without a warrant, and to protect the African nationals from mob violence. He should have initiated a proper impartial probe and awaited its results before rushing to defend his Minister’s actions.

Instead, the Delhi CM defended the actions with the bizarre claim that ‘Rape tendencies start with drug and sex rackets.

[See – NDTV Report on Dellhi CM Kejriwal’s Comments on Recent Gang Rape of Danish Woman in Delhi]

Kejriwal and his Cabinet have also announced that they will hold a sit-in demanding suspension of the Delhi Police officers who refused to do the Minister’s bidding.

It is ironic that the rape of a Danish woman in Delhi is recognised as violence against a woman – a foreign guest in our country. But the violence and appalling violation of rights to which African woman were subjected isn’t recognised by the Delhi Government as the same – and is even defended in the name of fighting ‘rape tendencies’!

We cannot forget that an African student, Yannick Nihangaza from Burundi, was brutally attacked in 2012 in Jallandhar, Punjab, going into a coma from which he emerged after nine months. There have been growing instances of xenophobia, racism and violence against Africans in Goa and other parts of the country too. People from the North East states also experience racist prejudice and violence regularly in Delhi and elsewhere. We urgently feel the need to counter the spread of the racist virus in the capital city.

Please join a peaceful sit-in at Jantar Mantar, on Sunday (19 January):

• To ask that the judicial probe ordered by the Lieutenant Governor identify those responsible for instigating and perpetrating mob violence against African nationals, including African women in Khidki village. To demand that those guilty of such violence be punished.

• To strongly counter racist hate-speech of the Law Minister

• To strongly resist the racist propaganda that ‘all Africans are drug peddlers’

• To tell the Delhi Govt that the Delhi Police cops who protected Africans from mob violence and refused to raid without search warrant, must not be suspended. Delhi Police should be held accountable to the law and to the Constitution, not to the bidding of political leaders

• To strongly say ‘Not in our name’: to assert that profiling of and violence against African women will not make Indian women any safer from rape; to tell the Delhi CM to stop using rape as a pretext to defend racism

• To create a space for African nationals in Delhi to share their experiences. To tell the people of Delhi that Africans ‘bilkul hum aur aap jaise hi hain’ (are just like you and me).

Please take time out on Sunday 12 noon Jantar Mantar to join in large numbers, come with friends and family, with banners and placards, to dispel the clouds of racism that hang over Delhi…Do endorse this call and circulate it widely.

Organised by  AIPWA, JNUSU, AISA, RYA and other organisations and individuals.

Contact: Sucheta De (9868383692)

See the event on Facebook Events. 

27 thoughts on “Protest Against Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s Racist Vigilantism in Delhi: Kavita Krishnan”

  1. ‘black people break laws’ -Somnath Bharti
    Underline- Only fair individuals follow the law of land. Aam Aadmi Party will distribute Fair and Lovely to all Delhiites to comply with the laws.
    Yes! Sex work is against the morals of our society.
    #AAP is Team-B of Bharatiya Janata Party to solidify morality!

    1. Thank you very much Kavita for this timely intervention. You exactly pointed out the crux-the difference in treatment to Danish and Africans.Deep solidarity with all African brothers and sisters

  2. pratibad saghothito karar janya sadhubad janai,aapnader gano abasthaner safalata kamana kari.

  3. Do you people really trust the main-stream media so much???
    They have given no evidence and neither have shown any interview of an eye-witness who was present there. Do you also believe that if the police were not willing to even search on the demand by the minister, they would have agreed that the women be made to urinate in public??
    I am not here defending that the Minister must be right because he belongs to AAP, all I want to remind you is the incident that took place a year back. When the “Respected” Delhi police claimed that AAP volunteers killed police constable “Subash Tomar”. Can we wait for some facts to come out???
    What I have been observing is that since the decision to remove FDI in retail in Delhi had been taken, all the corporate-controlled news channels have been running negative stories on AAP non-stop. If you would remember these are the same media channels that blocked all AAP coverage after Kejriwal held a press-conference against Mukesh Ambani last year.

    1. i fully agree with you. i could not see any visuals of any inappropriate behaviour with any woman on TV atleast. wonder how all these articles are being written?!

  4. Where are these Human Right Commissions when crime and rape happens? do they fight for the justice of the victims. LAW minister was correct as Delhi police is hand in hand with the crime. they take bribes from everyone right from street vendor, auto drivers and they even get money from these so called illegal Africans. First check what brings them to India? are they tourists? are they working? check if their stay in India is legal or not? I agree we can generalize a whole Nation but the truth is that All most All drugs/prostitution and crime is done by Russians, Africans and Bangladeshi’s. LAW minister acted Against the complaints of the residents of that Area. cops were reluctant to do anything as they were all being paid.

    IF DELHI Police was so Efficient New delhi would not have been labelled Rape and crime capital.

    I feel proud to say that finally there is a minister, a Political party who thinks more than the vote bank and the intention is to create a Corrupt and a crime free society. We are with you AAP. JAI HIND.

    A common Man

    1. I’m sure the common man in India is not a fascist like William, such people have gained back door entry only in the name of fighting corruption … and corruption is not only of finances. AAP seems to be morally corrupt. I’m sorry that I did not get to hear of this protest in time, otherwise, I’d surely have joined.

    2. Mr William, The racist attitude towards various nationalities reflected in your comment is little worse than that of the vigilante minister you are trying to defend.

    3. So who are the clients at these alleged dens of iniquity? Also imported from abroad by the Africans and Russians et al? Did Mr Bharti collect urine samples from any of them?

      It seems there are some in the AAP who simply wish to be bosses, and believe they have the right (not legal authority) to order searches and arrests outside the present legal system. Kejriwal included. His holding of a so-called Janta Durbar was a sign that he too believes more in earning kudos by doing individual favours and less so in systemic changes. Apparently old bureaucratic habits still linger.

    4. William, you seem to be the man who knows it all. According to whom all the wrong things are done by Africans, Bangladeshi’s and Russians? How about you being treated like this in another country? I think people like you before doing your hero worshipping should atleast try and think what is really good for the society. I am not scared of the Africans, but am scared of closed minded people who corrupt our society more in the name of reform.God give them wisdom!

  5. Somnath behaved in an immature way and it needs to becondemnded. The court has rightly passed an order to file fir against him.

  6. I have been following Kafila from a long time and appreciate what it writes but this one article really saddened me. The ridicule that Kejriwal has been subjected to in a short span of 20 days is more than any no. allegations put together on the Indian political class (pun intended).Hypocricy of the Indian people is such that in the times of anarchy they wish for a devdoot to stand up to set things right, and once that really happens, we begin to find faults in that new found hero.
    In a democracy it is essential to have all the forces together for a healthy governance. Criticism is of as much value, but it should not be overdone. Kejriwal is not essentially a devdoot but a man who is striving to set things right. If we can not do what he is doing for us then at least we should form our opinions wisely and even more cautiously write about it. For all those who feel strongly for African brothers and sisters…keep up the enthusiam but please lets not help crime to propagate in the name of brotherhood.
    Also, though the faith in the mainstream media had already blown apart now I am going to think twice before believing in a printed word anywhere!

    1. Anaam,

      I think most people who brought AAP to power hoped to change things for the better, not worse!

      I agree with you that Kejriwal and his party need more time to learn the ropes of politics; but to support him while he defends his Law Minister’s blatantly racist actions is wrong! Besides which, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to expect a Law Minister to have a basic understanding of law. Even assuming the African nationals were involved in illegal activities, this is not how any law enforcer, much less a Minister must respond! As for there being no media coverage, we can all be relieved that this is 1 instance where the media vulture was absent and so could not comment on the Africans’ humiliation!

      Speaking about hypocrisy, it would be hypocritical of us, the actual aam admi, not to call out on such actions that reflect so badly on us. AAP claims to stand for all things aam admi and it is safe to say most common folk don’t seek to dehumanize and disrespect other people no matter what their culture or personal lives are like!! (Or do we? Because that is a truly frightening thought!)

      At any rate, at least some people agree that what the AAP Law Minister did was deeply offensive and that he should be brought to task for it! So we take to online and offline protests. After all, it is up to the us – the true Aam Aadmi – to ensure that the party that claims to represent us, does not descend into mob-violence!

  7. I think Left only protested against everything.On the face of it, Law minister looks wrong but do local residents have no rights.Even after repeated complaints of locals, police didn’t investigated the matter.When rape happened,everybody was out blaming Kejriwal for law and order failure.Delhi Police is not sensitive to local public concerns.If their was no illegal activity going on then police should have carried out a investigation on local complaints and assured them, with factual report that everything is alright.You are 100% sure that account of Africans is correct and account of minister is wrong.When AK govt have no powers against DP then how to force them to do their duty and fix responsibilities for lapses.Urine samples in public is white lie.Samples were taken in morning at AIIMS.If they were clean, why they refused blood samples?
    You say, We will protest agaist Delhi Police whenever required.It appears, it didn’t bear any fruits till date.I hope, someday Delhi Police will count your protest. Sheila Dixit cried during her tenure all the way that she is not responsible for law and order failure.Delhi is only big city in India where night life is unsafe, Why?
    I don’t think AAP is a racist or communal party.Don’t be the party in pulling leg of a genuine peoples’movement where due to sabotage of vested interests, their life is already difficult.

    1. Well…if they are so great a party then first let them get rid of the Indians who are corrupt and broaden their thoughts and think before they make a comment. By the way most rape cases in India happens due to Indian.When your own country and people are not perfect why show “heropanti” on others who are from a poor country and have come for a better chance. Its easy to talk when you are not being raided.

  8. You people do live under the rock. I have lived in Khidki extension for two years and what is being alleged is a common knowledge. Bharti should have shown a little more common sense and acted with maturity but to say that nothing strange is going on there is bizzare. Find me three locals to agree with you. I am not saying that majority should be allowed to trample over minority rights but crimes cannot be forgiven only because of its done by a special minority. Visit the local PVR after 10 and see for yourself.
    Lastly, I knew the ultra lefties honeymoon with AAP would not last long.Lefties have no stake in the system but need some reason or other to protest. Going outside of comfort zone of Delhi is tough , so enemies and issues have to be invented. Best of Luck.

  9. This awful incident takes me back to the 90s when I was a student in JNU; somebody (more likely a group of like-minded sickos) stuck a poster with racist expletives and a condom on the door of an African student. Things got serious when the student suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be admitted to Safdarjung hospital and officials from his embassy came to the campus.
    The people who did this were never punished because they belonged to a political party that enjoyed wide support on campus. I remember how a party member tried to blame the African guy for bringing this upon himself; it was so pathetic. To all those wimps who went scot free, a big HAI HAI.
    Will we now have African governments removing all security barricades around the Indian Embassy in their respective countries?

  10. In full solidarity to your protest! I am shocked the way elite retired activists are joining this circus called AAP in various states. AAP do not have ideological capital to understand marginalization of social groups and its sound and noise around ‘corruption’ will not solve structural problems associated with poverty we are into NOW!

  11. 1) According to section 15 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, the police can search any place without warrant. This applies in case of a sex racket.
    2) The police did not search but had the balls to make those women urinate in public? Is that even believable? Also there is no clarity about who forced those cavity searches. Let us not get swayed away by what seem to be baseless allegations.
    This is nothing but highhandedness of the Delhi police who would refuse to do their duty for the lack of a warrant. I condemn the racist remarks but we need not support Delhi police for NOT being able to uphold the law.

  12. We people from bengal wonder how culd our India wid such a great culture,a heart of a mother be too insane infront of those inocent foreigner…our ancester has fought for ther racial discrimination in the world n here we make them suffer…it would be a great act of shame for us if the Delhi minister do not take any action against this brutal act of our own people.wishing for the better outcome n may the justice favour those innocent victim.

  13. I don’t understand how can people be sobrutual just because they are black..what happened to India’s culture of worshipping their guests. Not that Induans don’t take drugs and are not involved in sex rackets, then why this discrimination on the basis of colour.Because of a few sick Indians like the ministers who raided those innocent people and the illitrate land lords there the whole of India has to suffer and take the blame! Please let them live in peace..stop this non sense racism which is an added social evil in India!

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