More than two dozen men forced their way inside the official residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday.
The Deputy Chief Minister was not at home at the time, but his family was inside The AAP released footage from two CCTV cameras at the entrance of the house on Mathura Road, in which around 30 people can be seen rushing forward and pushing open the gate.
“There was a protest near my house and there was a police barricade. The police allowed the protesters to reach my gate. In the footage, you can see four cops walking along slowly even as protesters push their way through. The entire space outside my office at home was filled with protesting BJP members and they also tried to enter the lawn, which is right next to my drawing room. It was brazen and the cops did not stop them,” Sisodia told The Indian Express.
The BJP acknowledged protesting outside Sisodia’s house but denied that members of the party had entered the premises. It said the protest was against a remark by AAP leader Durgesh Pathak against mayors of the BJP-ruled civic bodies, who have been protesting outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in Civil Lines since Monday.
“Aam Aadmi Party leaders have shared a video shot on July 12 and are accusing BJP karyakartas of forcibly entering his house. Not a single BJP karyakarta entered the residence today,” Delhi BJP general secretary Harsh Malhotra claimed.
AAP sources said the July 12 date stamp seen on the footage was the result of a technical error. Police have confirmed that the incident in the footage did indeed take place on Thursday afternoon.
“I strongly condemn the systematic, organised and violent attack on Deputy CM Sisodia’s home. The goons entered his house in police presence when he was away. Why is BJP getting so desperate by the day in Delhi?” Kejriwal posted on Twitter.
Subsequently, responding to a tweet by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressing concern over the attack on the convoy of BJP president J P Nadda in West Bengal, Kejriwal tweeted: “Rajnath ji, don’t you think the violent attack on the Deputy CM’s house in presence of the police is wrong? Why is BJP so worked up over AAP and Delhi government’s support to the farmers’ agitation?”
At a press conference, AAP spokespersons Saurabh Bhardwaj and Atishi played the CCTV footage that showed one of the men pushing open the gate carrying a sign similar to one held by a BJP protester. Two security personnel can be seen outside the gate when the group arrives. As they push through the gate, five police personnel can be seen in the frame.
An FIR has been filed under Sections 188 (disobedience), 427 (mischief causing damage), 447 (criminal trespass) of the IPC, and Section 3 of the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act.
Police released a statement on Twitter at 6.20 pm, along with a photo of the gate of Sisodia’s residence: “Based on complaint by C Arvind, secretary to Deputy CM, a proper offence has been registered by Delhi Police under appropriate sections of law and investigation is going on. Allegations of gate damaged/broken are incorrect.”
A senior Delhi Police officer who did not wish to be named told The Indian Express: “At least 150 members of BJP and BJP Yuva Morcha wanted to hold a dharna and had applied for permission. We had rejected that in writing and they were duly informed on Wednesday that their application had been rejected.”
The officer said that on Thursday noon, when the group came to protest, police had adequate arrangements in place.
“They (the group) were told to stop but they barged in. As soon as they got in, we removed them and detained six of them. We received a complaint from the Deputy CM’s secretary, and filed a FIR on the basis of that,” the senior police officer said.
DCP (New Delhi) Dr Eish Singhal refused to comment on the security arrangements outside the Deputy CM’s residence.
Targeting Home Minister Amit Shah, Atishi said, “He is the only one who can direct the goons of BJP to attack the family of Delhi’s Deputy CM and also the Delhi Police to support these goons… Today is a black day in Delhi’s politics. People are witnessing how the BJP is trying to gain power through violence.”