By: Pradhuman Sodha & Sneha Thakur
A day after former Law Minister Somnath Bharti led a group of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) protesters outside the MCD office in South Delhi and an engineer was assaulted allegedly by party workers, the civic agency’s forum of engineers came out in protest on Tuesday.
“AAP workers should be ashamed of beating up an engineer,” Narendra Malik, a junior engineer, said. “It was a publicity stunt by the party. When we don’t demolish structures, courts pull us up. When we do, the AAP alleges we have taken bribes.”
Blocking the road outside the MCD office, the engineers burned effigies of Bharti.
Ashok Kumar, the engineer who was assaulted on Monday, recounted the incident the day after. “On Saturday, we carried out a major demolition in Hauz Khas. On Monday, I received a message that the AAP will protest outside our office. When I reached office, a man caught me by the wrist and said, ‘Tum apni marzi se jab chaho building girate ho, aao tumhe batate hain building kaise girate hain (You people demolish buildings according to your will, now we will show you how to demolish a building),” Kumar, who was not present at Tuesday’s protest, said.
“They assaulted me and dragged me outside the building. I was rescued by my driver and watchman,” he said.
Bharti claimed the people who assaulted Kumar were not AAP workers. He said his protest was to raise questions on what he alleged to be “unaccountable money”, which MCD officers had acquired in a short span of time.
On Monday, Bharti had said, “For 15 years, the BJP has been in power in the MCD. Nearly 80 per cent of corruption is in the MCD… Instead of demolishing buildings of the aam aadmi, why aren’t surveys being conducted on the assets of politicians? The MCD should do a thorough survey of all the properties belonging to leaders of all political parties… The aim of the protest is to expose corruption in the MCD….”
Deputy commissioner, MCD (South zone), Vijay Bidhuri termed Monday’s fracas as unfortunate and said there were ways to address grievances and that violence was not the answer.
MCD spokesperson Mukesh Yadav said an FIR had been lodged and two people had been arrested so far.
(The reporters are students of EXIMS, Delhi)