African nationals want protection

Social activists, university students and some members of the African community on Sunday protested against Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti for his crackdown on a suspected prostitution and drugs racket and his alleged racist remarks.

The protestors also lambasted Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for “blindly supporting his minister”.

The people who had gathered at Jantar Mantar on Sunday afternoon said they would continue with demonstrations as long as action is not taken against the minister.
“We have done it after the December 16 gang rape. We can do it again. We can do it quietly, gently and in a way that we will make them look like fools and idiots,” said one of the protestors.

Astha, an artist working at Khirki Village for long, said she has written to Commissioner of Police Bhim Sain Bassi, asking him not to suspend or transfer the SHO as demanded by Kejriwal. “He was totally right that night. It would demoralise the police force if they suspended someone for doing the right thing,” she insisted.

Shehzad Poonawalla, an activist who has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission to act against the minister, said he was in touch with many members of the African community to continue with the protests till action is taken. “I have submitted a video to NHRC where one person in the mob was referring to the Nigerians as Negros. We can’t afford to ignore all this,” he said.

Members of the aggrieved community shared their experiences of discrimination and harassment.

Jason, a Nigerian living in Khirki Village, said locals often hit them with stones. “They call us with all sorts of names. They pour water on us from above when we walk on the streets,” he said.

Brenda, a woman from Uganda, said locals have once molested her. “Just a few days ago, someone broke a beer bottle and threw at us,” she said.

The protestors said had a similar incident occurred in another country against Indian women, all the politicians would be up in arms alleging racial discrimination.

“But the government listens only to the voices of their own partymen and dismisses those of the victims,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women Association.

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