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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

‘Scared’ of Africans, Khirki Extension locals back Somnath Bharti

Ritam halder, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 20, 2014
First Published: 09:22 IST(20/1/2014) | Last Updated: 09:28 IST(20/1/2014)

Most locals seem to be happy with AAP leaders’ intervention in Khirki Extension. They say they are not being racist when they demand that those of African descent leave their neighbourhood. No wonder then that the public meeting on Sunday morning saw just one demand: African nationals leave the neighbourhood.

The meeting was attended by two Delhi ministers — law minister Somnath Bharti and transport minister Saurabh Bhardwaj.

Bharti got validation for his Wednesday night vigilantism while police faced flak for their alleged inaction. The entry of the people from various countries of the African continent was blamed for the present “mess”. Many locals used expletives for them and said the African nationals were destroying the area’s culture.

“Ever since the Select City Mall has come up, massage centers and night clubs have started in the area. The Africans came here and started with drugs. Now they have started prostitution as well,” said Anish Kumar Saini, a resident.

Babu Khan, another resident, said, “We had complained to police, but nothing happened.”

Most residents denied any racism behind their actions and attitude towards their African neighbours. “This is not racism. At night, I often find the Africans standing there, taking drugs and looking for buyers. Foreign women keep standing everywhere. They are prostitutes,” a resident said.

Some tend to feel unsafe when 10-15 African nationals began living here. “It is a fact that most of these people are caught in incidents of drug peddling. From three months, this prostitution ring has also started,” Sumit Singh, another resident, said. “Our kids are scared of them. And their numbers are increasing. The situation is so bad that auto drivers call this area ‘Negro Chowk’ now. It is so scary,” Nancy George, a housewife, said.

Some, however, felt proper action is needed rather the politicising the matter. “ We want solutions to our problems, not politics,” Sandeep Saini, who belongs to the Jankalyan Morcha of Khirki Extension, said.


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