New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal set himself on an unprecedented collision course with the Union government on Monday by sitting down for a dharna in front of Rail Bhavan to press his demand for suspension of some police officials.
Prevented by the police from taking his protest to Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s office, Kejriwal agreed with critics who called him an anarchist, and asked “honest” police officials to take leave and join his protest demanding action against some of their colleagues.
“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,” the Aam Aadmi Party chief 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.
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 Union government for the current situation arising from their demand for action against officials who refused to raid an alleged drug and prostitution racket in a South Delhi area.
In Delhi, the police report to the Union home ministry and not the state government.
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.
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 would be the responsibility of the Centre.
Kejriwal claimed that a woman official of the Ugandan High Commission met Law Minister Somnath Bharti and gave him a letter written by an official of the Mission to the government in Uganda on a woman from his country brought to Delhi and allegedly forced into prostitution racket. He claimed the Ugandan official welcomed their campaign on the issue.
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, and pass on a share to their senior officers.
Rejecting 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 Bharti had taken up.
The Minister had sparked 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 all round 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 are holding a dharna against the Union government to press for their demands.
Kejriwal also said his protest will not affect governance as he will clear files from the protest site.
Delhi Police asked Kejriwal to shift his protest to Jantar Mantar, citing prohibitory orders in the high-security area. Police made it clear that the protest will not be allowed to continue in the area.
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 also criticised 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 Shinde that he was involved in the 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.