Vigilantism gives AAP black mark
It appears that the Aam Aadmi Party is rapidly compounding its mistakes, and permitting its tradition of street agitations to degenerate into vigilante tactics.
It is also resorting to spreading xenophobia and racism to the extent of encouraging human rights violations against foreigners living in the Indian capital. This has important foreign policy implications, apart from being blameworthy in itself.
Instead of grasping the gravity of the situation, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has threatened to sit on a dharna along with his ministers outside North Block, where the Union home ministry is located, if junior police officials, unsuccessfully sought to be railroaded by two of his ministers earlier, are not suspended. This is misconceived. In the light of how the ministers have conducted themselves, the proposed step constitutes fundamental disregard of key properties of governance.
On Wednesday last week, Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti was way out of line as he embarked on a midnight tour of a part of his constituency in South Delhi, ranted and raved against the nationals of some African countries, accusing them of vile crimes, threatened a group of Africans, and ordered the local police to search their homes without warrants. The minister, in the past indicted for tampering with evidence, engaged in sharp verbal duelling with junior police officials as they refused to oblige. He had alerted the media to the antics he intended to perform and the sorry episode was caught on camera.
Some African women alleged later that the minister’s supporters forcibly kept them shut in their car for three hours, after which they were taken for medical examination to a hospital (on the suspicion of drug use), where doctors probed their private parts. Early the next morning, Mr Bharti returned to the scene and urged people there to draw up a list of “such people” so that he may personally check each house. Black people “break laws”, Mr Bharti was quoted by the media as saying.
Elsewhere in New Delhi, AAP women and child welfare minister Rakhi Birla was instructing the police to break down the door of a locked house, accusing the owners of setting a woman ablaze the previous week. Two ministers clashing with the police are two too many, and they are taking the law into their own hands. We may just hope that the revolution has not begun to devour its children so soon in the day.
Last week, following the gangrape of a Danish tourist in the heart of New Delhi, AAP leaders weakly proclaimed that the police was under the jurisdiction of the Union government and was being negligent in its duties in order to bring the AAP government a bad name.