Moments after Arvind Kejriwal ruled out formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 2008 Batla House encounter, Congress MLA from Okhla Asif Mohammed Khan on Thursday barged into the chief minister’s press conference and created a ruckus.
The incident took place when Kejriwal was addressing the media on completion of one month of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Kejriwal said his government was not going to have a re-look at the Batla House encounter as a court had already given its judgment on it and his government respected the verdict. “A court has already given its verdict and we respect the order. We are not appointing any SIT,” Kejriwal said.
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Shouting slogans, Khan barged into the press conference moments after and disrupted it. He accused the AAP government of retracting from its manifesto promise.
Khan said he won’t support the AAP on any issue even if he was expelled by the Congress. “He (Kejriwal) had promised the people of Okhla that he will probe the Batla House encounter and had even distributed pamphlets saying the same, which had his signature on them…,” Khan alleged.
Later, the AAP, in a statement, condemned the “nefarious attempts by the Congress MLA to disrupt the press conference of Kejriwal”. The party also said the AAP had not said in its manifesto that it would probe the Batla House encounter.
“Asif has tried to spread a lot of falsehoods. It is important to rebut these false allegations. Without reading the AAP manifesto, he has given statements that it promised a probe into the encounter. There is no such mention in the AAP manifesto,” the statement stated.
Questioning Asif, the AAP said he needed to answer why he joined the Congress — he had won the 2008 Assembly election on an RJD ticket — despite the fact that the previous Congress government in Delhi and even the Centre had termed the encounter as genuine in court.
Thursday’s incident could further damage the alliance between the Congress and the AAP with both already sparring over the government’s decision to replace the present chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Barkha Singh, who is from the Congress.
The Delhi government on Wednesday decided to constitute an SIT to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. When Kejriwal was asked why the SIT was being formed considering that court judgments had been pronounced in riots cases too, he said, “There are a lot of cases related to the 1984 riots which were not even heard…”