The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) headquarters at Jhandewalan was vandalised on Thursday, in the presence of Delhi Police officials, allegedly by a group led by Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta. A group of close to 100 people entered the building around noon, breaking the glass door of the reception, and made their way to DJB vice-chairman and AAP leader Raghav Chadha’s office.
Chadha, who was not in his office during the incident, alleged that the mob broke computers, printers and benches, attacked staff members and manhandled women employees. The BJP, however, alleged AAP workers created ruckus.
Delhi Police said they detained around 30 men from the spot. DCP (Central) Sanjay Bhatia said, “We received information that a few BJP workers were protesting at DJB HQ. We detained around 30 men from the spot. Action will be taken as per law.”
Police refused to reveal the names of those detained but senior officials said Gupta was among the 30. They were later released. Police are yet to register an FIR as they are awaiting a formal complaint from DJB.
On the videos showing Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta in the group, an officer said, “We haven’t decided the course of action yet. We are investigating the matter.”
Chadha alleged, “They said your Chief Minister is becoming too supportive of farmers and has been speaking in their favour… They threatened us saying if AAP doesn’t stop supporting farmers, then BJP goons will attack all of us… They also said AAP should follow the directions of PM Narendra Modi or else violent attacks will continue on its leaders.”
Videos shared by AAP show Gupta delivering a speech to about 100 people outside the main gate, as police officials guard the gate from inside the complex. Groups of men then push the gate open, allowing the crowd and Gupta to enter the complex, as police officials, who are outnumbered, follow them. Amid slogans of “Adesh ji, keep up the struggle, we are with you” and “Kejriwal resign”, the group shatters the glass in the main reception area using chairs and rushes inside.
In another video shot from inside the building, Gupta can be seen walking with a group of men and women who are raising slogans in his support.
A DJB employee alleged, “Four-five employees, including women, had locked themselves inside a room and put a sofa against the door. The mob kept banging on the door, asking them to open up. A female security staffer was punched or shoved in the face as well.”
Responding to the incident, Gupta alleged supply through water tankers in the capital has been stalled for the past 22 days: “I had gone there but officials didn’t meet me at first; some officials met me later. None of our workers were involved in the violence. We staged a peaceful demonstration outside the headquarters against the DJB’s Rs 25,000-core tanker scam, but AAP workers forcibly barged into the premises, vandalised the office and attacked BJP workers.”
He also said five workers sustained injuries in the attack.
Chadha, meanwhile, said, “DJB will initiate legal proceedings. However, the proceedings will be handled by Delhi Police, whose officers were already present there and the attack happened on their watch… Police are now waiting for us to file a complaint. This shows how serious they are about investigating this.”
On December 11, more than two dozen men had forced their way inside the official residence of Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, with AAP claiming they were from the BJP. The BJP acknowledged protesting outside Sisodia’s house but denied that its workers had entered the premises.
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