AAP: Is the hope still alive?


Rohit Dhankar

This morning I received AAP’s mail, the general mail which they send to everyone in their mailing list, stating in brief their position on Barati issue and Kejriwal’s dharna. The email also had a video link. I started with that link and spent about 3 hours trying to look at several other videos, including other media reports and interviews with various AAP leaders.

I know what I say in this blog next is going to prove me jaldbaaz, impatient, biased etc. But in the interest of fairness I must admit that there are many things I did not know, may have been biased. I took a principled position, but on incomplete information. I still hold the principles: constitutionally elected people have to function within its limits. We can hope any positive changes only from those who understand the constitutional obligations and don’t play the same power games.

But in the light of the new information I gained in my careful watching of the videos shows that the absolute position I was taking about Kejriwal and Bharati was mistaken.

1. It seems that the residents of the colony Khidki had been complaining to the police for long and several FIRs are already in the police records on this issue. The police took no action to investigate into the case.

2. Bharati did aske for the raid, yes, but it seems in the case of drugs police has the power to conduct a raid on the basis of FIR and judicial warrant is not necessarily required. (I am assuming this to be true, am not sure.) Alternately the police can cordon and seal a building without entering it and can acquire the needed warrant before the raid. This is within the powers of the police on the basis of reliable information.

3. There was reasonably reliable information on the basis of the testimony of the residents, sting operation of a TV channel and actual scenes on the roads that drug abuse and flash trade (?) might be going on in the said building(s).

If 1 to 3 above is correct information my accusation of not following due procedures and becoming law unto himself on Bharati were mistaken.

Kejriwal seems to be saying that dharna became a necessity because the central government was not prepared to follow due procedure. There were complaints against the SHOs and the government took no action. The government was not prepared to conduct a time bound enquiry against them in spite of there being a prima face justification in terms of either collusion or inaction. An enquiry without removing (for the time of enquiry) the officer in question from his position is unlikely be fare. I find this reasonable. If Kejriwal had to go on dharana to challenge this inaction on the part of the government, my charge on him of breaking constitutional norms was wrong.

I am writing this correction to my last blog in the interest of fairness. I know readers of this blog are only my friends, so it is to explain to them, nothing more. I must have collected more information before forcefully condemning AAP on these two issues.

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6 Responses to AAP: Is the hope still alive?

  1. Manoj says:

    I have seen this video and I feel raid conducted by minister and the crowd has several problems. Police inaction is an issue which should not get mixed up legal-procedural impropriety of this raid. I am going by minsters own utterances and I have problem with following admissions:

    1. Pause this video at 1.15 minute and listen carefully what minster is saying till 1.23 min. “Police vaale bahut kam tez Daur rahe the, to hamane do ladkiyaan pakadwaa leen.” Now assume that those two girls were sex workers. In that case is it okay if mail crowd or mail constable get hold of those two girls? There were no female constable at the site is a fact well known by now.

    2. What happened to BMW waalah. Were they run away or what? Did police or crowd chase them? There is no clue about them in this video. Are these BMWs were from Nigeria or Uganda or from the neighborhood of Khidaki Extension.May be from other parts of Delhi? No clue about them in this video. But we certainly know that in prostitution case both the parties involve are equally culpable. We also know that police don’t need female constable to arrest mails involve in such cases . Do you smell class and racial bias here? Delhi outsider-inisder, Maa, Bahan beti and Nigerian women etc. It is also clear how ‘prostitution’ get framed in patriarchal mind.

    3. Now pause the video at 00.15 min and listen till 00.28 min. Minister is saying about the complains he received in his Jan Sunwai and here is what he said- “Nagirian Ladake Ladkiyann SAB prostitution Veshyavriti aur drug trafficking kaa dhandha karatee hai. (EMPHASIS ADDED). Notice the use of word – SAB. If there is a single Nigerian women in this area who is not involve in prostitution Veshyavriti aur drug trafficking the accusation is not true. This is something we learnt from you 🙂 As per my understanding- which I have acquired by reading class-VI NCERT social science textbook- this is brazen case of stereotyping. Minster would have cautioned his people against this kind of stereotyping. Role of good leader is also to educate and lead and just to follow the popular demand.

    4. Now pause the video at 2.08 and listen carefully till 2.14.. “”Chaar Police waale main interance par gaye huye hain, kah rahe hain NEGROS ki Gaari anadar nahhen aane de rahe hain. Unko bola gaya hain andar naheen aane ..” (emphasis added) . The use of term NEGRO is not permissible in US and other countries after civil right movement of 60s. Am I fetishizing political correctness? Look, as per minster’s own admission complain was about Nigerians, they caught Ugandan and their supporters were using the blanket derogatory term NEGRO in this video. If this is not a textbook case of racial stereotyping can anyone provide me with better example?

    I sincerely want the hope to be still alive. AAP has taken few sincere measure to clean the system and make it more responsive over the last one month. But in this case I refuse to overlook the nitty-gritties and refuse to see only the larger picture. I am really upset with people like Shree Yogendra Yadav.

    Here is the Link for Video I have referred:

    http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Somnath-Bharti-Accuses-Delhi-Police-of-Negligence-After-Late-Night-Raid/2014/01/16/article2002718.ece

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  2. prof. ahmed says:

    It appears that you must have got very robust data to change your view on AAp and thier misdeeds. As you are saying that you spent three hours time, to do research on their side of the story to reach on conclusion that they may be justified in their acts. I dont receives their mail, but happened to see on their website, and I may say that these so called additional videos dont convince me at all that they are justified in their acts. Since, you have distinguished your opinion on two counts; on the grounds of principles, and empirical grounds. It is on empirical grounds that you find you may be wrong as these may substantiate your original position on AAP (in your previous post). You may be totally right in your conclusion as it is your data which helped you to reach on your conclusion. They may be right in saying that Police did not listen to complains of the local people, who found this illegal activity harmful, nonetheless, the question is that if getting involved in what is primarily a prerogative of police could be justified. Even if, police has liberty to raid drugs and substance abuse case without warrant at hand, should not police be given its chance to take its decisions. Was not there any other ways of solving this problem, other than either trying to prove police wrong or being showing that they are corrupts. Did he bother about making fresh complains and pursuing them with policy officially and proceduraly? The videos, which may be edited themselves show that he was leading mobs assuming that he will be complemented by police. What I am trying to say that your principles observation does not get contradicted by the given empirical facts even presented by them. They are trying to deal withing the empirical domain, while you were right in original post to adjudge them against certain principles. To put it with due regard, I am surprised at this apologetic post in the morning. It appears some sort of compromise with your principles part.
    Secondly, even if the government was determined to shield their police force, this dharana drama, which did not go well with many ordinary citizens as a government taken oath to constitution fully defied the basic law like 144, which is enforced in public good, and threatening that they could stop republic day celebration. Did they abide by the politics they professed originally like seeking public opinions on that. If the Central government did not want to listen the justified demands, they could have put the entire case in public domain and asked for referendum, and then asking government to act on those legitimate demands. There could have developed a certain discourse on police functioning in Delhi. The way it unfolded appeared very clearly that their explanations and justifications for dharana was just post script. These videos themselves seemed to have thrown as self-defense.
    I am dismissive of some of their work, but I thought that the self-righteousness which you invoked in your analysis, or to put more stronger word, ‘holier than thou’ attitude which they consistently demonstrate in their acts and in defense is a very dangerous precedents for a democracy. I tend to stand by with your previous post. it will be greater public interests to substantiate with how did you reach on this conclusion.

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  3. rdhankar says:

    I agree with both Manoj and Prof. Ahmed. what I was trying to do in my second post is admitting my lack of information. If you notice I am talking of only two incidents in that: 1. insistence that the police take action (Bharati), and 2. Insistence that the government takes action. I remain as skeptical as ever on all other things.

    I am not endorsing Bharati’s language and over all outlook. nor am indorsing Kejriwal’s stand on every thing. I tried to make a forceful (in my view 🙂 ) argument against AAP leaders on some empirical facts which were not complete. was just admitting that much.

    I also agree that on both cases even if one takes the AAP provided facts the procedural problems remain. They are very important in a democracy. what I am doing in my second post is: 1. given the history and settled attitude of the police and the government inaction some thing needs to be done to challenge it. 2. if the transparency can be maintained in explaining the reasons to public then insistence on a raid within lawfully permitted limits can be accepted in special circumstances; though it is much less than the ideal.

    Defending violation of section 144 by a constitutionally elected CM is indefensible, I am not doing that. all I am saying is that a CM can go on dharana in special circumstances.

    I have also realized that in such times an ordinary citizen who is generally not a very alert politics watcher needs to invest much more time and energy in this. actually, it seems to be becoming a kind of duty in my thinking. what professor Ahmed refers to as empirical data is very important in such cases and pure dealing in principles is inadequate in taking informed political stand.

    Both prof.Ahmed and Manoj seem to have read my second post as endorsement, what I intended is admitting lack of information.

    Perhaps, what i should have done is state the information I was using and should have written in CAPITALS THAT GIVEN THIS INFORMATION, AND ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL THAT IS HOW THE CASE SOUNDS. The usual ploy in mathematics and philosophy. 🙂

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  4. Thoomas P Thomas says:

    Hello Rohit, I must admit that it is refreshing and heartening to hear someone who is willing to nuance his position and does not shy away from reversing a position if need be.

    In this case, I think there are a few problems here though on the AAP side. Although complaints have been received in the neighbourhood, did those complaints pertain to these specific individuals? As far as I could gather, no. The complaint was that there seems to be a problem in these areas/buildings. The raid is conducted on people, not buildings. As someone who has witnessed the frivolity with which complaints and counter complaints are filed with the police on assault (campus politics times), mere complaints do not warrant a raid. Normal procedure would be to increase the beat police in those areas, specific to the drug cases engage stakeouts in mufti police etc. Gather evidence and then move in for a raid. Not get together a bunch of hapless policemen and some boorish crowd to raid a building. Now, the problem with this approach is that it is violative of the principle of innocent until proven guilty at some level. (Although, unlike courts, police can act on suspicion as well.) It is here that they have been violative of procedure and guidelines stemming from the Constitutional Principles. And that is extremely worrying.

    These violations might come from lack of respect and lack of knowledge or the pressure to show results. If it is lack of knowledge, it is pardonable. A few years in seats of power will solve the problem. But if it is the other two, then we are in for what Dickens would say as ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’

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  5. Samir Samnani says:

    For me both comments seems to be right based on information as information changed so argument and reasoning. For me sir, first blog was about larger issues, democracy: moral legal framework, procedural framework and conviction in constitution and AAP take on these concepts, second thing I derived that u also talked about character of Kejriwal, somnath and vaihwas which in many ways is right when we see their actions. Second blog talked about khirki incident s and following dharna. I think somnath bharti intent is right but action was uncalled same for Kejriwal. CM should have emphasis on discussion with LG and center before taking dharna. He has targeted Republic day with foul language…..then also there two questions which are unanswered???
    1. Why somnath bharti attended a call from DCW,
    2. Why AAP is not stringent towards somnath as there were to others parties Leaders??

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