The Delhi Police on Wednesday registered a first information report against Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti for allegedly abusing a television news anchor. “An anchor of a Noida-based news channel lodged the complaint against Bharti under Indian Penal Code sections 504 [breach of peace] and 509 [outraging the modesty of a woman],” said Sita Singh, who is in charge of the Noida women’s police station, according to The Indian Express.
Bharti denied the allegations. “My face is not visible in the debate,” he claimed. “I spoke to her over the phone. My voice has been altered and parts of my arguments have been edited to make it sound hurtful.” The AAP leader also demanded that the complete clip be released, and said he was considering initiating legal action against the anchor.
According to the FIR, during a debate on Tuesday, Bharti verbally abused the anchor and the TV channel’s owners and called them puppets of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The anchor said she was “deeply hurt” by Bharti’s language and demanded that Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal take action against him. Maliwal tweeted, “I strongly condemn his misogynistic and shameful statements against a female reporter”. She added that people should “control their anger”.
BJP calls AAP the ‘Anti Aurat Party’
Union minister and Delhi BJP leader Harsh Vardhan called AAP the “Anti Aurat Party” (Anti-Women Party), PTI reported. He also attacked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter. “It’s shameful that he has time to review movies but not for taking action against the use of filthy language against a female anchor,” Vardhan said.
Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari attacked Maliwal, claiming she was “not even in a position to take cognisance of Bharti’s action”. He said the BJP will file a complaint against Bharti with the Delhi Commission for Women and the Press Council of India.