New Delhi, 20 January
When Arvind Kejriwal arrived in his private vehicle this morning to stage his planned dharna outside the Union Home Ministry offices, a strong contingent of 22 police companies, welcomed the Delhi Chief Minister at North Block. The environment was charged and had all the makings of a violent showdown between the government and the police forces.
As the day proceeded, it appeared as if a coup was in progress where the Aam Aadmi Party defined its new role ~ the people’s police.
The CM arrived at a quarter to eleven. Following his arrival, the media along with police personnel surrounded his Maruti Wagon-R. DCP Tyagi was one of the first police officials to talk to Mr Kejriwal and successfully stop the CM from entering the main road leading up to the Home Minster’s office.
"We are not here to stop the Dharna, the area is closed till 12 o clock because of the Republic Day celebrations," AAP leader Manish Sisodia then announced on a microphone, adding, "Now that the police is not letting us go inside we will stage the Dharna right here."
Arvind Kejriwal said, "They are trying to stop the dharna stating its Republic Day, but what kind of a Republic Day is this when people’s rights are taken away".
The rest of the day was marked by typical protest scenes ~ sloganeering , waving of flags and singing of patriotic hyms. However, the nature of this protest was unique. While previous protests against corruption targeted specific governments, this protest pitted itself against one of
the strongest of state instruments. "Delhi Police Murdabad" "Delhi Police Hai Hai" were the slogans shouted by those who had joined their Chief Minister.
When Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who has been at the centre of the whole row, entered the park where the AAP workers were staging the sit-in, he was hailed as a hero.
"We are ready to lay down our lives for the people of Delhi", a smiling Bharti said. He added, "Till the time AAP exists, we will not allow any social evils to thrive."
However, Tina Sharma, a former BJP member who recently joined AAP, confronted members of her party. "I as a woman and a citizen of this country demand the resignation of Somnath Bharthi." Sharma alleged that AAP is becoming increasingly undemocratic in its actions. "I have stood up with Arvind Kejriwal but the actions of his cabinet are outrageous," she told TV reporters. Tina Sharma was then threatened by a woman who claimed to be an AAP supporter.
Members from other groups, including Bharatiya Aam Aadmi Party (BAAP) and the Hindu Sena, protested against the AAP dharna. While BAAP protesters were immediately bundled into a bus and taken away, members of Hindu Sena vented their anger, alleging that AAP is a party of traitors.
"Kejriwal is an CIA agent and a Maoist. They claim that Batla House encounter was fake and talk of holding a referendum in Kashmir," said Vishnu Gupta of Hindu Sena. He added, "Indian police is one of the most honest and dedicated forces of the world, we will not tolerate anyone who opposes them."