No one expected AAP to have a smooth ride, but no one quite expected its ministers to turn out to be its worst enemies. Faced with growing internal spats, with MLA Vinod Kumar Binny accusing the government of moving away from the party’s goals and members like Captain Gopinath and Mallika Sarabhai questioning the government’s actions, it now has added problems.
Last week, Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti, along with a few volunteers, demanded that the police raid a house in South Delhi saying that he had information that the foreign nationals — from ‘Nigeria or Uganda’ according to Mr Bharti — living there were pushing drugs and running a prostitution racket. According to media reports, two women were forced to undergo medical examination in the night.
It seemed to have slipped Mr Bharti’s mind that it is illegal for the police to raid a place without a search warrant and they cannot take action against women after sunset. On the same day, women and child welfare minister Rakhi Birla accused the police of shielding suspects in a dowry harassment case.
The Delhi Police ‘refusing’ to co-operate with the state government, as pointed out by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, points to a larger issue of who controls the police that needs to be addressed on a policy level, and not on the streets at night.
The irony in Mr Kejriwal’s statement “….the police are only shying away from their duty” cannot be missed as it was AAP that criticised then chief minister Sheila Dikshit when, after the December 16 gang rape, she said that her government had no control over the Delhi Police. Mr Kejriwal threatening to hold dharnas till the cops who did not comply by the ministers’ orders are suspended will not improve the security situation in the capital.
Many of the government’s actions seem to show that AAP is yet to move from an activism mode to understanding the intricacies of running a government. The people have reposed great faith and hope in AAP and are ready to give it a very long rope. This is all the more a reason for AAP to be extra cautious before resorting to insensitive statements and acts of vigilantism.