AAP face-off with Centre, Kejriwal & ministers on dharna


AAP face-off with Centre, Kejriwal starts dharnaNEW DELHI: In an unprecedented face-off with the Centre, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today began a dharna in front of Rail Bhavan calling himself an “anarchist” and asking “honest” police officials to take leave and join his protest demanding action against some of their colleagues.

Defying prohibitory orders in force in the high-security area near the seat of power, Kejriwal accompanied by six of his ministers, came down hard on the Centre for the current situation arising from their demand for action against officials who refused to raid an alleged drug and prostitution racket in an area in South Delhi.

“Some people are saying that I am an anarchist. I am spreading disorder. I agree I am an anarchist. Today, I will create anarchy for Shinde,” he said in an impromptu address to his party MLAs and supporters at the dharna site from where police asked him to shift to nearby Jantar Mantar.

He asked honest officials among the police force to take leave and join him in the agitation demanding Delhi police be brought under his government, a demand rejected by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

45-year-old Kejriwal said he has come prepared to stage dharna for at least 10 days and would continue the agitation further if need be.

Earlier in the morning, Kejriwal along with his supporters attempted to go to North Block housing the Home Ministry to lodge their protest. However, they were stopped near the Rail Bhavan as the nearby Vijay Chowk and the entire Rajpath were sealed for the Republic Day rehearsal that was going on.

In his address to his MLAs and supporters, Kejriwal put the blame squarely on the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Centre for the situation that has led to his dharna and appealed to people to join him.

He said any crisis arising out of the situation including disturbance in holding Republic Day celebrations will be the responsibility of the Centre.

The Chief Minister attacked functioning of police saying the streets of Delhi are not safe for women. He also alleged that some police officials take money share which go to their superiors also.

Rejoinder to Shinde

Rejecting Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s statement that action can be taken only after an inquiry, the Chief Minister demanded immediate suspension of the “corrupt” officials who refused to act in the interest of the public whose cause Law Minister Somnath Bharti had taken up.

The Minister had created a controversy last week when he went to a locality in his constituency of Malviya Nagar, claiming a drug and prostitution ring was being run from a residence and demanded police raid the place.

However, the police refused saying they have no warrant to do so. The AAP workers allegedly forced a couple of women from Uganda to give urine samples. Their action came under alround attack but the AAP government insists that action should be taken against the police officials.

This is perhaps for the first time that a Chief Minister and his entire cabinet is holding a dharna against the Central Government to press for their demands.

Defending his action to hold dharna, Kejriwal asked those gathered whether it was wrong to demand suspension of policemen in connection with the rape of Danish woman and those who failed to act on his cabinet colleagues’ letter demanding protection for a woman who was later allegedly burnt alive by her parents-in-law.

Kejriwal said he was demanding action against policemen who failed to check drug and sex racket being run from South Delhi. He said under such circumstances, ministers should be seen among people instead of sitting in the cosy comforts of their big bungalows.

Kejriwal claimed that an official from the Uganda High Commission had met Bharti and supported his action, saying in the name of employment several women from the country were being forced into prostitution in India. He said he would distribute a copy of the letter written by the High Commission officials.

Kejriwal also blamed a section of the media, Congress and BJP for describing actions of AAP leaders as “vigilantism”.

He also referred to the allegation made by former Union Home Secretary R K Singh against Sushilkumar Shinde that he was involved in transfer of SHOs in Delhi Police.

“It creates doubt that money has changed hands (for the purpose),” said Kejriwal.

He said most policemen are not corrupt and asked the honest ones to join AAP’s movement against corruption. He recalled that the Delhi Government has given Rs 1 crore compensation to the next of the kin of the policeman who was killed by liquor mafia recently. -PTI