I am a founder member of the Aam Aadmi Party. I had made a request to the Party secretary several days in advance of the National Council meeting in Delhi on January 30, that I wished to move a resolution to tender an apology by AAP to the Ugandan and Nigerian women living in Khirki extension for the humiliation they were subjected to by the members and supporters of AAP on the night of January 15/16, 2014. The draft of the short resolution was shared with some members of the party.
The proposed resolution was: “The National Council of the Aam Aadmi Party unanimously resolves to tender an apology to the women from Uganda and Nigeria living in Khirki Extension who, were forced to submit themselves to narcotic tests at the behest of some members and supporters of Aam Aadmi Party on the night of January 15/16, 2014. The Party deeply regrets the humiliation caused to the women. The Aam Aadmi Party disassociates itself, with any racist comments made by the party’s members and supporters. It apologises for them. It is not a racist party.”
At the meeting I was not being given a chance to speak so I requested the last speaker, Admiral Ramdas to carry my views in his address which was the last at the meeting. This prompted the convener to allow me, ‘a voice of dissent’ as he put it, to address the gathering.
I was allowed to make two of the five points with which I intended to introduce the resolution. These were: 1) After taking oath at Ramlila ground as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had sung a song about insaniyat, (humanism). He said that AAP carried the message of insaniyat. Humanism does not allow the humiliation of women. It calls for an apology. 2) The institution of prostitution needs to be handled with careful consideration. AAP has a committee on gender justice which has Lalita Ramdas as its convener. The committee has come out with a carefully considered report. It could have been consulted. Displacing prostitutes, if indeed the women in Khirki Extension were prostitutes, which is yet to be established, is no solution. There are an estimated 30 lakh prostitutes in India. It will not be difficult to chase them out because 40 per cent are girls below the age of 13. Where can they be deported to, the Indian Ocean? AAP has chosen to displace the small number of African women who are helpless. They have no votes. Their humiliation was an attack on insaniyat. So was the negligence, which led to the death of several homeless people in the cold that night.
At this point I was told to stop. ‘You have had your say’ I was sternly told. The mike was taken away from me. The shouting brigade became very strong. I was told ‘not to make a spectacle before the media’. There was no media present in the hall. I was forced to step down from the stage.
What is emerging is the fact that AAP is backing well entrenched prejudices in society because they carry the weight of votes. The Aam Aadmi Party is already the party of Aam Aadmi prejudice. The talk of Vyavastha Parivartan and AAP ki Kranti sounds like the Sampurna Kranti of the JP movement in 1977, which vanished like steam as soon as the Janata Dal formed the government.
It is also clear that AAP’s talk of participatory democracy is a sham. The high command allows no dissent.
The writer retired as an ambassador of India