Day after, Arvind Kejriwal says attack bid to silence himhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/delhi-cm-arvind-kejriwal-attack-narendra-modi-aap-5711860/

Day after, Arvind Kejriwal says attack bid to silence him

The attempts to “suppress, silence, kill” all criticism were symptomatic of a “dictatorship”, Kejriwal said, adding that Modi was “responsible” for the attack on him.

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Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia during a press conference on Sunday. (Express photo: Abhinav Saha)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday said the “message” behind his assault during a roadshow on Saturday was that voices critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will “not be spared”.

The attempts to “suppress, silence, kill” all criticism were symptomatic of a “dictatorship”, Kejriwal said, adding that Modi was “responsible” for the attack on him.

Addressing a press conference at the AAP headquarters, Kejriwal said of late he has repeatedly questioned the “relationship” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan and “I feel that I was attacked because of that”.

Read | Delhi: Day after attack on Arvind Kejriwal, police beef up security

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“The attacker was sent to convey a message. An attempt is being made to send the message that whoever will speak against Modi in this country will not be spared. Even if he is a Chief Minister. The message to the country is do not dare to speak against the PM… In many mob lynching cases, the victims had spoken against the PM. Today in this country, if anyone writes anything against Modi on Facebook, he faces fake cases. This is the sign and character of a dictator. A dictator is someone who cannot stand any criticism against him. This is the sign of a dictatorship where critical voices are suppressed, silenced, killed, attacked,” Kejriwal said.

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was slapped on Saturday by a man during a roadshow in Moti Nagar, New Delhi. (Video grab)

Kejriwal said the CMs of West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, NC chief Omar Abdullah, JMM leader Hemant Soren, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Yadav and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury have reached out to him with messages of solidarity.

Also read | AAP’s challenge to Delhi Police: Show us evidence to prove attacker’s link to party

On Saturday, Kejriwal was conducting a roadshow to support AAP’s New Delhi candidate Brijesh Goyal when a man breached the security and slapped the CM, who was waving to the crowd from an open roof vehicle.

On Sunday, Kejriwal conducted two more roadshows in Chandni Chowk and Dwarka. Security was considerably beefed up on his campaign trail. Armed policemen not just escorted him, but were also deployed on terraces along the route.

“I want to assure the people of Delhi that I am not scared. My life and being, each and every drop of blood, is dedicated to Delhi and this country,” Kejriwal said.

Also read | Attack on Arvind Kejriwal brings statehood issue back into focus

Speaking at length on what he claimed was an “intriguing relationship” between Modi and Pakistan, Kejriwal said never before has a Pakistan PM appealed for votes for an Indian premier, “like Imran Khan did for Modi”.

Referring to the Balakot air strikes, Kejriwal said the country wants to know why terrorists and Pakistan were “endorsing Modi” despite the action carried out by the Indian forces.

“Pakistan attacked our air base in Pathankot two years back, seven soldiers were martyred and Modiji wrote to Pakistan’s ISI to come and probe the incident. Modiji went uninvited to celebrate Nawaz Sharif’s birthday. Do the Prime Ministers of two countries meet like this? This is not nationalism, this is a dangerous game between Modiji and Pakistan,” said the Delhi CM.

Kejriwal warned “Modi Bhakts” against blindly following a person, saying the country is above any individual. “The wife of the attacker has given a statement. She said that her husband was a big Modi bhakt and he could not tolerate anyone speaking against Modiji, that he hated Kejriwal,” he said.

Recounting that he has been physically attacked nine times in the last five years, Kejriwal said “they” want to carry out a fatal attack after having failed in tackling the AAP politically.

“There can be lapse once or twice or thrice, it can’t happen nine times. Then you feel it is a conspiracy… They have tried everything to finish the AAP. They raided my office, my bedroom. They have 33 cases against me…their intent is to somehow remove us physically,” he said.

The AAP leader said the statement of the Delhi Police on the attack, in which it was claimed that the attacker was miffed with the comments of AAP leaders “against the army”, was “scripted’ at the BJP headquarters.

“It is Modiji who has insulted the army. Till date, no Indian PM has insulted the army like him. Four days back, he said surgical strikes have been carried out only in the last four years. It implies that in the last 70 years, the army did nothing. Everything was a video game. LT Gen (retd) Hooda said such surgical strikes have been carried out in the past as well. Modiji says everything was a video game. The 1971 was a video game. The 1965 war was a video game. Modiji has mocked the valour of the Indian Army. Modiji has insulted the valour of the Indian army. No Indian PM dared to insult the army like this… If the person actually attacked me for this (insult to army), then he should not have attacked me, the attack should have been somewhere else. That doesn’t mean we are not in favour of attacks, we are against it,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said at a press conference that the AAP would lodge an official complaint in the case. “BJP, through Delhi Police, wants to give the message that anyone who attacks the Delhi Chief Minister or even kills him will be spared as no action will be taken against him. Delhi Police will not do anything,” he said.