In the area around bungalow No. 6 on Flagstaff Road, Civil Lines, protests are a common sight. The issues change — protests are held against alleged corruption, water woes and cases against AAP MLAs — but the target of the demonstrations remains the same. The protests are aimed against the occupant of bungalow No. 6, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
On an average, at least three such “spontaneous” protests are held near the CM’s residence every week, say sources in Delhi Police. Some demonstrations are attended by only a handful of people, others have thousands of enthusiastic participants.
Until now, no FIR has been registered over any protest so far, said sources. But policemen posted outside the CM’s residence often get embroiled in heated arguments with protesters, they added.
“Policemen posted at the CM’s residence have to be alert 24/7. We get to know about some protests beforehand, but many are spontaneous. Police personnel try to keep the protests under control,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (north) Madhur Verma.
Delhi Police’s intelligence wing keeps a tab on such protests and provides relevant information to district units, said sources.
“Initially, we try to convince the protesters to move to another venue. Sometimes they don’t agree, despite our repeated requests. When they try to create a ruckus, we take appropriate action, including putting them under preventive detention. After detaining the protesters for a few hours, we allow them to go,” said Verma.
On the Delhi government’s decision to impose Section 144 in the area, Verma said only police have the power to do so.
“It is our responsibility to keep a check on activities around the CM’s residence. If we suspect that a protest or demonstration may create a law and order problem, we can take action under the law. This also includes the power to impose Section 144,” he said.