An unconditional public apology to Africa

This one, I am sorry to even write. In my latest livemint column, I write an unconditional apology, one that should have come not from me, but from many many more other far more important people, for the shameful vigilantism that was on display, targeting Africans in Khirki Extension. For those of you who may have missed it, at night on January 15th, Somnath Bharti, the newly sworn-in Law Minister of the Government of Delhi (the state, not India) led a group of his party workers, media and summoned two police cars to Khirki Extension. They raided homes of African women and stopped some of them on the road, accusing them of running a drugs and prostitution racket. According to a news report

…the minister quarrelled with the police when they turned up and wanted arrests to be made immediately. Shockingly, two African woman nationals were beaten up, forced to give urine samples and held captive inside a taxi for nearly three hours by AAP members.

For over two years, I lived in Malviya Nagar, less than half a kilometre from Khirki – and would often come across Africans on the road – I would often walk back after late night movies and the scariest things on those small by-lanes were just stray dogs. One of the things I say in my column is:

I know this comes way too late, and from just one individual who is wholly irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. I am also just an aam aadmi, but not that one whose identity has been hijacked by the set of goons that came knocking at the doors of an unsuspecting Ugandan woman. I wish these newly elected politicians who now hold office in the government of Delhi would realise that corruption (that they promised to root out) is not financial alone, but also moral, where one wilfully ignores their moral responsibility to recognize the honour and dignity of everyone, irrespective of their nationality, colour or gender.

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