Delhi : Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today faced mounting demands for the removal of controversial Law Minister Somnath Bharti after an African woman identified him as allegedly heading a group of assaulters in a mid-night raid.
The AAP government and the ruling party came under an avalanche of attack from rivals and women’s activists who said the Chief Minister had staged a two-day dharna in the name of women’s safety but was following “double standards” on the issue of the minister.
Bharti was involved in a row with the police last week when they refused to raid an alleged drug and prostitution racket following which he allegedly led his supporters in forcing the women to give urine samples.
With the minister becoming a source of a major embarrassment, AAP advised him to be “careful and humble” while making public statements.
A number of party leaders are said to be upset with Bharti who had earlier stoked controversies by seeking a meeting of Delhi judges and was involved in talking to a witness he was cross examining as a lawyer.
One of the African women, who recorded her statement before a magistrate, said she has identified Bharti as having led the group that barged into her house and attacked them.
“We were attacked on Wednesday night by Indians who were led by Somnath Bharti…We were harassed, we were beaten, they were having long sticks.
They said we should leave their country or else they would kill us one by one,” the Ugandan national said.
The woman said she identified Bharti because “he came in the night and the next day I saw him on television. The Delhi Police came in time and saved us from the mob.”
Bharti refused to make any comments on the demands for his removal while the party and his colleagues came in his defence, saying any citizen, more so a minister, has the right to ask police to act on any illegal activity.
However, women’s rights activists were not impressed, saying Bharti had violated laws relating to women and had taken law into his hands.
The Delhi Commission for Women summoned Bharti to appear before it.