The Delhi Police on Monday took position in the capital’s most protected area for an unprecedented confrontation, with water cannons and hundreds of personnel, as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal turned Chief Protester.
Mr Kejriwal and his ministers have decided to sit on protest for 10 days in Delhi’s most protected zone, where restrictions are in place for the Republic Day celebrations on Sunday.
Delhi police personnel’s leaves have been cancelled. What has made their job tougher is the Chief Minister’s refusal to take any security.
“It is immaterial who is protesting,” said SBS Tyagi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, vowing to stop anyone who defied orders.
Resuming their dharna and demonstration-style politics for the first time since taking power in December, Mr Kejriwal’s ministers said they were prepared for a long haul. “I have brought clothes,” said Law Minister Somnath Bharti.
The Kejriwal protest poses a huge challenge for the Delhi Police in the middle of Republic Day preparations, which demands top security detail because of the large number of dignitaries attending the event.
AAP’s row with the police began last week with Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s midnight raid on an alleged sex and drugs ring at his constituency in south Delhi. Mr Bharti has been accused of harassing African women, who have alleged that they were beaten, molested and forced to give urine samples in public for a drug test. He also ordered cops to arrest the women but they refused to do so without a warrant or evidence.
The Delhi Police have alleged that Mr Bharti tried to bully them but Mr Kejriwal says the force is highly compromised and the officers who did not help his ministers should be suspended.