6:08 am - Friday November 6, 2015

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to protest at Home Ministry, urges people not to join

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New Delhi – The Delhi Police is gearing up to stop Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from reaching the office of Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde where Mr Kejriwal is planning a protest. He has asked the public not to join him.

Mr Kejriwal and six ministers from his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) want the Home Minister to order the suspension of three policemen for alleged dereliction of duty. They had given the Centre till 10 am today to remove the cops. After that, they said, they would demonstrate at Mr Shinde’s office.

The chief minister has asked people not to join his demonstration. Last night, he tweeted, “In view of republic day preps, i urge supporters and public not to come for dharna. Only MLAs will sit. No one else shud come pl. (sic)”

The Centre has imposed Section 144 which temporarily bans the gathering of groups when law and order is perceived to be at risk.

The Chief Minister and his cabinet have left their office at their Delhi secretariat. They will be stopped at police barricades at the Rail Bhavan crossing near India Gate, said sources. Police sources also said they may allow Mr Kerjriwal to continue alone to the Home Minister’s office.

Four Metro stations near North Block – Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan and Race Course – will remain closed from 9 am to 1 pm to ensure the public does not join the protest. (Read) A disappointed commuter said an “aam aadmi” or common man’s chief minister should not cause inconvenience to the people.

Asked how the Delhi government would run if he and his ministers were on protest, Arvind Kejriwal told NDTV in an interview that he would sign files from the dharna site.

Mr Kejriwal has demanded action – suspension or at least a transfer – against cops who, he says, refused to cooperate with his Law Minister Somnath Bharti in cracking down on an alleged drug and prostitution racket. He also wants action against a policeman who had a showdown with another minister Rakhi Birla over a dowry case.

The Chief Minister has also accused the police of mishandling a gang-rape case; a 51-year-old Danish tourist was gang raped early last week in the heart of Delhi.

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has refused to suspend the cops – he points out that an enquiry is being conducted to determine the facts. About today’s AAP protest, Mr Bassi said, “Whatever has to be done according to law will be done.”

The Delhi Police reports to the Centre and not the state government. Mr Kejriwal told Mr Shinde at their Friday meeting that the AAP government wants control of the Delhi Police transferred to the state government to ensure better policing.

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