New Delhi: It has been a day of tit for tat political protests in the national capital with Delhi witnessing simultaneous protests by the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP – the two parties that have been at loggerheads in a Centre vs State turf war.
While BJP activists gathered outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence over his government’s alleged plans to procure high-end surveillance equipment for its Anti-Corruption Branch, AAP workers protested against Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani over the escalating IIT-Madras row after the institute banned a student group for criticising PM Narendra Modi and the Centre.
Protests outside Mr Kejriwal’s residence were triggered by a cabinet note circulated on Friday that reportedly says that the government proposes to spend Rs. 35 crore on purchasing high-end equipment for monitoring and surveillance.
BJP activists alleged these were attempts of snooping by the AAP government. Police had to use water cannons to disperse the protesters; a former BJP mayor was injured and had to be hospitalised.
“AAP wants to break into people’s privacy. Who gave them the right to tap phone calls of the citizens of Delhi?” Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhayay said.
The government has denied the allegations. “There is no proposal by the Delhi government to procure anything called as a snooping equipment and no such cabinet note has been circulated,” Nagendar Sharma, Advisor to the Chief Minister, tweeted on Friday.
Meanwhile, youth wing workers of AAP protested at Jantar Mantar, holding the HRD ministry responsible for IIT-Madras banning the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, a group of around 20 students, after an anonymous complaint to Smriti Irani’s Human Resource Development Ministry. The complaint accused the group of trying to “spread hatred” towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi through provocative pamphlets and posters.
Ms Irani had backed IIT’s action, saying it has clearly stated that some procedures by the students’ organisation was not followed and it knew that Dean will derecognise it for violating norms.
“IIT Madras is an autonomous institution which takes its own steps,” she had said.