Shri Arvind Kejriwal
Govt. of Delhi
19th January 2014
Subject: Condemnation of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and his supporter’s alleged racist slur and humiliation of African women in Delhi
We strongly condemn and express our deep concern over the incident that took place on the night of 17th January 2014 in New Delhi when six African women were humiliated and subjected to racist abuse by a member of your cabinet and his supporters. The media also reported that the Minister ordered a raid without a warrant of a premise in Khidki village where the African women were staying accusing them of being part of a sex and drug racket.
Your cabinet colleague Mr Manish Sisodia, in defense of his cabinet colleague, has stated in the press “The police enter poor people’s homes as and when they want, without warrants. But refuse to act against a sex and drug racket.”
Mr Kejriwal, this is precisely our concern. Police in this country is known for its high-handedness and has always been biased against the aam aadmi and aurat. Mr Bharti’s action only legitimizes such illegal searches by the police and sets a very dangerous precedent. Two wrongs cannot make a right and we expect a party like the AAP, which has promised rule of law, to conform to legal and constitutional provisions and not indulge in arbitrary application of mob force that amounts to vigilantism.
We understand the need to rid a city of its crime and make it safe for its citizen, but displaying power and acting like a moral zealot cannot do that. There has to be a process and law needs to be followed by all. A city can be made safe if its citizens are tolerant of each other. The racial profiling displayed by your Minister and his supporters against the African women is a matter of great shame to all Indians and can only make all our urban spaces more unsafe and the city unsafe and breed an intolerance dangerous to Indian democracy.
We sincerely hope you will have the incident investigated and take immediate steps to both compensate the African women who have been grievously wronged by your Minister and his supporters as well as take proper action against the Minister for his uncivilized and unlawful behaviour.
Madhumita Dutta, Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Nityanand Jayaraman, Independent Journalist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Satya Sivaraman, Independent Journalist, West Bengal
Sadanand Menon, Columnist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
V. Chandrika Radhakrishnan, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Prof A. Marx, Writer, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
T. Venkat, Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Rupesh Kumar, Independent Researcher, Bangalore, Karnataka
D. W. Karuna, Historian, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Shalini Sharma, Researcher, Guwahati, Assam
Karen Coelho, Assistant Professor, MIDS, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Shweta Narayan, Activist-Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Dharmesh Shah, Activist-Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Archanaa Seker, Activist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Aparajay, Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, Columnist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Activist, Mumbai, Maharashtra