Harish Salve, you are being selective
Harish Salve, one of the highest-paid advocates in the country, has taken up the cudgels of anti-racism and non-discrimination against African nationals. While that is a commendable endeavour, Salve’s newfound zeal to exterminate the ‘angels of anarchy’, both civil and governmental as ‘represented’ by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ministers and activists, particularly its law minister Somnath Bharti, is striking. That Salve, who usually prefers to observe a mellifluous silence on matters as sensitive as humongous losses to the public exchequer through the many scams and scandals of the UPA dispensation at the Centre, has decided speak up on behalf of the Ugandan and Nigerian women who were, without a doubt, mistreated by AAP vigilantes during Bharti’s midnight raid, belies several layers of political muck that threatens to get exposed in this case. While we cannot deny that somewhere Bharti overstepped and miscalculated his moves, certainly causing huge distress to the African nationals in question, it is equally true that the minister was trying to hold a light to the murky underbelly of illegal sex and drug racketeering holding the Capital hostage. Until we put in place better sex and drug laws and legalise this largely black market of flesh and drug commerce, we need to poke into the grinding wheels of law and procedure to find a way out.
Somanth Bharti was perhaps doing the same, and his midnight raid is symptomatic of both the achievements and drawbacks of a civil empowerment movement represented by the rise of AAP. While a minister taking to the streets at the dead of night to inspect an area directly challenges the hitherto held stereotype of a glib and inaccessible political player, it is also true that Bharti represents a kind of middle-class morality that is washed out and extremely regressive. However, Salve’s well-timed salvo at AAP disregards the many strides that a significantly empowered democracy has managed to arrive at, and selectively isolates the points that decidedly need ideological coming-of-age.