Delhi`s minister`s midnight raid condemnable, doesn`t reflect ties with Africa: India

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 19:49

New Delhi: As another Ugandan woman filed a police complaint against AAP cadres who allegedly misbehaved with her, the Indian government said Thursday that its ties with Africa are very important and the midnight raid by a Delhi minister in Khirki Extension does not in any way reflect its ties with the continent.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin also said that India has assured African envoys that it is committed to pursuing the matter and provide them details of the case.

A second Ugandan woman moved court Thursday seeking an FIR against the men who misbehaved with her during the raid in south Delhi`s Khirki Extension area last week. She has not named Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who led the raid against an alleged "prostitution and drugs racket". One Ugandan woman who was rounded up during the raid last Wednesday has identified Bharti as among the men who allegedly misbehaved with her.

Putting a big question mark on a letter flashed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his protest as written by a Ugandan high commission official praising Bharti`s raid, Akbaruddin said that the official had clearly stated that there had been no contact with any government authorities in India "of any hue or colour".

During a meeting called on Jan 18 to assuage the concern of African envoys, no official of the Ugandan mission was present as they were all away on holiday, Akbaruddin said, adding that one official returned this week. The spokesperson said that during the Saturday meeting between Dinkar Khullar, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, and over 20 African envoys in South Block, "no diplomatic official of the Ugandan mission was present".

He said the Ugandan official who returned from holiday was asked a "specific question whether there had been any interaction between them and any government authorities in India.. We were told that they had not been in touch with any government authorities in India of any hue or colour." The senior officials of the Ugandan mission are to return next week.

The spokesperson said that last week`s incident "does not in any way reflect our ties with Africa". India has assured the African envoys that it would provide them with details of the case once these are available. "We have also written to the concerned authorities on this - that it is our commitment that we will pursue this matter and provide them (envoys) the details since many of them were concerned about it."

Asked if the ministry had been embarrassed by the incident, Akbaruddin said the fact that the ministry rushed to organise a meeting with African envoys on a Saturday, which is a weekend government holiday, did highlight their concern.

"Obviously, our response on a holiday and our immediate need to communicate our situation does indicate this is a matter of concern," he said. He said during the meeting with Khullar, "what was done was to immediately assuage any concerns that there may be if the incident has any racist overtones or the government of India in any manner has a view which is not conducive to our relationship.. And we had indicated that this was an incident that was condemnable , cannot be condoned and was an aberration."

ANI

First Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 19:49
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