Delhi law minister Bharti must go: Ex-IPS officer

New Delhi, Jan 19: Condemning the recent incident involving Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and his alleged manhandling of some African nationals in a midnight raid in the capital, former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Amod Kanth Sunday demanded the minister’s resignation, calling him “unruly”.

“These criminal cases are required to be registered and investigated, and the culprits brought to book. The errant law minister must be asked to go,” Kanth said at a press conference.

Kanth, also the founder secretary of Prayas, a community-based gender sensitive human rights organisation, said that on receiving the information about the incident, he decided to conduct a personal inquiry.

“On Jan 18, I was told by south Delhi police that they received written complaints from seven African nationals – six Ugandan women and a Congolese male student. I happened to meet all of them personally to get first-hand information,” said Kanth.

Kanth said he met two African women – living in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension – who were allegedly “molested, assaulted, slapped and physically shaken” by members of the unlawful group led by Bharti.

“The women were coming back from a mall in Gurgaon, and as soon as they left the taxi, they were accosted by a crowd led by a person, now identified as Bharti. When she wanted to know what the problem was, they (the mob) directed her to raise her hands and comply, otherwise she would be shot at,” Kanth said.

One of the women was allegedly hit by Bharti and sustained an injury on her forehead, he said.

“Since I had met the deputy commissioner of police (south) after meeting these women, I personally produced them before him, in the presence of the additional deputy commissioner and a journalist,” he said.

Kanth said the two women were soon joined (at the police station) by a group of four Ugandan women who too had been confronted by the “violent” crowd who blocked their way and confined them in a car for nearly two hours.

“These (four) women were also criminally assaulted, forcibly subjected to cavity searches, and were made to pass urine while the crowd accompanied throughout,” he said.

“They were subjected to extreme atrocity, humiliation and hardship by the unlawful mob led by the minister,” he added.

According to the former police officer, the raid could not have been conducted under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 which requires a “special police officer recording the grounds of his belief to enter and search such premises” without a warrant.

“Needless to mention, the procedure laid down under section 15 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, was illegally violated by the mob led by the law minister,” he said.

Kanth said if people are found to be guilty, proper searches should be conducted, which follow a deemed process.