It began on Monday as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s protest to demand the suspension of four police officers, but soon descended into chaos.
The Delhi secretariat moved to outside Rail Bhawan, the call for the suspension of the policemen metamorphosed into a demand for control over Delhi Police, and then, even full statehood.
Within a few hours of starting the protest, Kejriwal had proclaimed himself an anarchist and even invited police personnel to join him and demonstrate against the Union home ministry.
By the evening, AAP supporters from across Delhi and even neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were knocking on barricades that denied them entry into the Rail Bhawan traffic island, where Kejriwal and his cabinet sat until late Monday night.
Kejriwal called for the protest against the MHA, which has refused to suspend four police officers who rejected Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s demands to search and arrest foreigners last week, citing the lack of a warrant.
True to his word, Kejriwal, his cabinet and AAP legislators set off for North Block, the office of Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. They were, however, stopped by the police from going up Raisina Hill due to prohibitory orders, and were stalled at Rail Bhawan, which became the venue for their sit-in.
Flanked by ministers Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla and Bharti, Kejriwal invited policemen themselves to join the dharna.
“I want to tell all of you that this is your fight as well.
Apply for leave today, and then take off your vardi and join us here tomorrow. Paanch-cheh din chutti le lena. Agar yeh police commissioner zyaada tang karega, toh main dekh loonga (Take leave for 5-6 days. If this police commissioner bothers you too much, I will deal with him). I am prepared to stay here for 10 days until they listen to our demands,” Kejriwal said.
Their demands, however, seemed unclear as they switched from one to the other.
Kejriwal spoke at length on the suspension of the four police officers in connection with three separate incidents of alleged crime in the city.
“Last week, a Danish woman was gangraped. There is one rape after another in this city. The police keeps saying that we are investigating. There needs to be some accountability. Someone has to answer for these crimes. Tell me, should the SHO of the area be suspended or not?
“A girl was burnt alive and Rakhi Birla asked for justice. The SHO did nothing. Should the SHO be suspended or not? There is a sex-and-drugs racket in Malviya Nagar. We demanded that they be caught and the ACP’s and the SHO refused continued…