NEW DELHI: The after-effects of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s shock-and-awe vigilantism against Africans living in the Capital have started to show their ugly faces. Besides suffering racial and physical abuses allegedly at the hands of locals, Africans of Nigerian, Congolese and Ugandan origins are now being forced to vacate their apartments in Khirki Extension, and to settle in nearby areas like Khanpur and Deoli village.
When MAil Today visited several localities — Arjun Nagar – Green Park, Munirka, Satya Niketan and Saidulajab in Saket — across the Capital where Africans live, the anti- African mood was palpable. In Arjun Nagar, the locals thought MAil Today journalists were Aam Aadmi Party volunteers who would beat up the Africans. In another instance, on enquiring about a Nigerian restaurant in the area, a local asked whether the team of journalists was interested in buying drugs.
In Khirki Extension — the locality that Bharti had raided — Aas Mohammed, a landlord, said: “We are conservative people and these African women dress up badly. Our children are influenced. Also, there has been enough evidence of drug trafficking against them. Our children are sold drugs for Rs 50 to Rs 100. We aren’t racists, but being a conservative society, we cannot let the Africans impact how are children grow up.” Taking a cue, landlords in other localities are also up in arms.
MAil Today has learnt that the Residents’ Welfare Association of Arjun Nagar at Green Park in south Delhi is planning to pass a resolution, instructing local landlords and property dealers to stop renting apartments to the Africans.
Locals in Munirka alleged that Africans often turn the rented apartments into restaurants or bars without informing the landlord. People visit these business ventures and create a ruckus after drinks, the locals complained.
Meanwhile, in Saidulajab property dealers and local landlords are now getting identifications of African tenants verified by the local policemen to ensure that they aren’t harbouring criminals in their homes.
With threats looming large, scared Africans are moving around carrying their passports.
Panic- struck Africans are questioning the rationale behind the discrimination. Jason, a 23-year-old student pursuing his education in cinematography, asked: “When Indians have such issues with us then why did the Indian government accept our educational applications?” Stressing that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure safety of Africans in the Capital, Jason alleged that people throw stones and spit at them as they walk on the streets. “After dark, often people come and kick on our doors,” he added.
A Ugandan woman, who had initially refused to speak, put her fears bluntly: “Today if I voice my issues, then tomorrow your government’s minister will come and arrest me.” Africans in Satya Niketan alleged that local teenagers humiliate women by asking how much they will charge for having sex.
By:Kassim Isse Dhuhulow (Mr.blackgold),
Freelance Journalist and Advocate For Somali Community in India,