Posted On Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 02:06:49 AM


Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti

IN NEW DELHI: A group of young African women found themselves in the middle of a political and media furore late Thursday in Delhi with AAP minister Somnath Bharti accusing them of being part of a “prostitution and drug racket” and demanding their arrest.

One of the women, a student, described the incident, “We were in our house when suddenly we heard people shouting outside. We saw a crowd, got scared and locked ourselves inside,” she said. Her friend, who is in India for medical treatment said, “They abused and insulted us.”

According to eyewitnesses, Bharti and other party volunteers came in large number and tried to barge into a house from which they claimed a “drug and sex ring” was operating. They added that the AAP members accosted four women from Uganda.

At least two were forced to go to hospital and undergo drug tests. When four policemen reached the spot, Bharti had a heated argument with them and asked them to arrest those who were operating the “racket”.

But the cops refused on the grounds that, under law, women cannot be arrested after sunset and that they did not have a warrant. Bharti’s vigilante action came in for much criticism, with AAP member Mallika Sarabhai saying the minister’s remarks against Africans “smacked of racism”.


Meanwhile on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti and Manish Sisodia met Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung at his residence. Delhi police commissioner B S Bassi was also present along with the four police officials who are under fire from the AAP ministers.

At the meeting, which lasted for about an hour, Kejriwal and the ministers raised the issue of women’s safety in the capital while calling for the suspension of the three SHOs and the ACP for their alleged refusal to cooperate.

The LG ordered a high-level inquiry into the cases, but the commissioner refused to suspend the officials. AAP meanwhile has approached the union home minister to suspend the cops. The CM said that if the home minister did not meet their demands, then they would protests outside his office on Monday.


Meanwhile, the BJP demanded that Kejriwal sack Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti for ‘undignified’ behaviour. Vardhan raked up the recent spat between Bharti and Delhi Police and asserted that his behaviour with the police and even with the media was not appropriate.

Claiming that Bharti’s behaviour has been continuously inappropriate, Delhi BJP leader Vardhan also said, “He revealed the name of the Danish woman who was gang raped, which is unacceptable.

The Law Minister should resign or else Kejriwal should sack him. If he cannot respect the constitutional bodies, being a minister, he doesn’t have the right to humiliate anyone,” he said.


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