Women, student bodies and people of African nationalities held a protest at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday against the alleged unlawful involvement and passing of racist comments by the Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and his Aam Aadmi Party members, demanding a judicial probe and appropriate legal action.
“A petition has been submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) against Delhi’s Law Minister Somnath Bharti for his illegal, unconstitutional, xenophobic and racist actions and slurs against members of the African community including women,” said lawyer and activist Shehzad Ponawalla.
“We can’t have police force act as per a mob’s or a minister’s bidding. The Chief Minister should himself reach out to the community. Stop suspension of cops and take charge of your Ministers,”said the All-India Progressive Women’s Association president and activist Kavita Krishnan.
The protestors including members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union and the All India Students’ Association (AISA) raised slogans and waved placards saying “Africans are our guests – we are ashamed of attacks on them.” Asked whether foreign nationals faced any problem, a resident of the Khirki Extension, Brinda Samakula — who works as a hairstylist — said: “Every day the auto drivers refuse to take us. If I get a chance, I will definitely move out from this area. We all are human beings. They should treat us like they treat their own local people.”
“They [AAP] are fresh in power. It is a fantastic opportunity for them to make themselves visible. Two weeks ago when Devyani Khobragade was meted out the same treatment, then everybody shouted and raised slogans against the human rights violations. He is the law minister and still he outlawed the basic human rights. I hope Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung holds his ground and does not suspend the police officers,”said Malini Kuchupillai, an activist, architecture and photographer, living in the Khirki Extension.