Following last week’s midnight raid led by Delhi’s Law Minister Somnath Bharti at the homes of African nationals accused of drug and sex trafficking at Khirki Extension, the Africans, mainly women, have begun moving out.
Most of the 300 African nationals living in the south Delhi neighbourhood find themselves vulnerable since the raid and have been keeping a low profile, even avoiding the press. Almost 100 of them have left the area so far.
“My female friends are staying indoors even during the day. Even some men are staying indoors. If you hadn’t called me, I wouldn’t have been out,” Olamilekan Jason, a 33-year-old Nigerian student, who has been living in Khirki Extension for three years, said.
“Yes, they are coming less to our shops, business has been affected, but what is wrong is wrong,” Naushad Alam, a local shopkeeper said.
The locals say they do not want to drive out the foreigners but those allegedly involved in illegal activities must be booked. They also plan to send letters signed by the residents to Lieutenant Governer Najeeb Jung in this regard.
“We are not threatening Africans. We are all living here together. We are only objecting to illegal activities. I am sure Indians are also involved with them. They should also be booked,” Pramod Kumar, a Khirki Extension Residents’ Welfare Association member, said,
Meanwhile, after a Ugandan woman identified Mr Bharti in court, the Delhi Police today is expected to decide whether a second FIR should be filed in midnight raid case naming the Law Minister. The Delhi Women’s Commission is also meeting Najeeb Jung today to demand FIR against the minister.
The Aam Aadmi Party, however, continues to defend Mr Bharti. “I appeal to the African nationals to realise the motive. We have a history of ‘Atithi Devo Bhawah’. We should do our best to maintain that. But the locals are also harrowed. We cannot ignore that,” senior party leader Manish Sisodia said.