He may have been criticised by various individuals, women's rights groups as well as political parties, but for the residents of Khirki Extension in soutth Delhi, Somnath Bharti is nothing short of a hero who is ready to protect them.
The law minister had raided the area after
complaints by residents about the 'illegal' activities of people of African descent and ordered the police to take action. The police's refusal had resulted in an unprecedented political stand-off between the state government and the Centre.
"He did what no one was willing to do before him. We had filed various complains against these people. They have vitiated the atmosphere of this area in the last five years. This action was desperately needed," said RK Khanna, a resident of Khirki Extension, J Block, a kilometre away from where the incident took place.
The complainants had complained to the police on various occasions about the alleged activities taking place in the area.
"In the last few years, it has become impossible to step outside the house because of their activities," said Mayank Sharma, one of the complainants. There have been complaints of Africans bullying and beating up locals.
The resulting tension has forced a number of African nationals to leave the area.
According to a landlord, who has rented his flat to Nigerian nationals in the area, many are mulling moving out of the locality permanently.
"Out of the two flats I have rented out to Nigerians, one is going to be vacated by the end of this month. The two men say they are too scared to live in this area now," said the landlord who did not want to be named.
When Hindustan Times visited the street where the drama had unfolded a week back, there were hardly any people of African descent to be seen.
"The ones who are here don't want to come out of for fear of being attacked. Many of my friends have moved to friends' houses in other parts of the city for the time being," said a Kenyan national, who lives in the area.
The police, meanwhile, have increased police presence in the area, especially during night.
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