Congress protest to demand Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s arrest
NEW DELHI : As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal takes to the streets to protest against the Delhi Police, the Congress will protest today against his Law Minister Somnath Bharti for a midnight ‘raid’ in which African women were allegedly abused over local complaints of a sex and drug trafficking ring.
Women activists of the Congress, which provides external support to Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, will march to the Delhi Police headquarters demanding Mr Bharti’s arrest.
The Delhi Police yesterday registered an FIR or First Information Report, without naming anyone, following a complaint by Ugandan women who alleged that a group of people from a political party held them, threatened, beat and molested them.
Mr Bharti, along with supporters and some residents, allegedly accosted the African nationals on Wednesday night as part of their “raid” on a sex and drugs racket in a building in Khirki Extension, which is in the minister’s Malviya Nagar Constituency. He also took along a police team, who say he tried to bully them into arresting the women without a warrant or evidence.
The women have alleged that the crowd forced them to urinate in full public view for samples to be tested for drugs, according to senior lawyer Harish Salve. But that has been denied by Mr Kejriwal and AAP. The women will be shown video footage so they can identify the men.
Mr Bharti has also been accused of a racial slur. Defending his vigilantism, he hit out at the BJP and the Congress for criticising him, saying, “It is not my fault if they have pimps in their midst, and don’t care about the country. Our women are not safe, I was told by locals that there is this huge problem.”
Mr Kejriwal has defended his law minister and demanded action against the police officer in charge of the area for ‘dereliction of duty’, citing this as the reason why Delhi Police need to be brought under the state government and “made accountable”.