By Sharanya Gopinathan
Three Aam Aadmi Party MLAs have been booked on charges of molestation, followed by a complaint filed a female party volunteer. The complaint alleges that MLAs Jarnail Singh, Amanatullah Khan and Somnath Bharti confined her in a room and assaulted her. She says that there were two other men being beaten up in the same room, and that the assault on her continued for an hour. She says the MLAs sexually assaulted her, kicked and punched her.
The complainant says that when she went to witness Delhi Assembly proceedings, a large crowd came out, of which Somnath Bharti was a member. Upon seeing her, she says he shouted that she was the same woman who had filed a case against Sanjay Singh, and that he asked his supporters to beat her up.
Somnath Bharti, of course, has already been accused in a domestic violence case involving his wife, and that case brought to light the fact that she had dog bite scars on her, and other evidence of having been beaten and subject to violence.
There was originally some confusion about whether action could be taken against the MLAs as the assault took place in the on Assembly premises, but after consideration by concerned authorities, it was clear that those privileges that are extended to legislators did not extend to crimes of this nature.
Of course, some of the news houses reporting on this forgot to mention that she said that Bharti referred to the Sanjay Singh incident when he decided to confine her in a room, and instead merely decided to mention that she had once slapped Sanjay Singh. This mention was made in a way that feels like it was intended to malign her and make her seem like a serial enemy of the Aam Aadmi Party. One of the news organisations that did this, IndiaSamvad.in, also chose to name her in their report, although the media is legally prohibited from naming the survivors of molestation and sexual assault. As we saw in the irresponsible reportage on the case of the abduction and sexual assault of a popular Malayalam actor in February though, this is clearly a law that the media frequently chooses to ignore.
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