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Auto driver's slap leaves Kejriwal with swollen eye

New Delhi: April 8, 2014 DHNS 2:27 IST
An unidentified person slaps AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal during an election road show at Sultanpuri in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo
Former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was left with a swollen left eye after being slapped by an auto-rickshaw driver during the Aam Aadmi Party’s last road-show in the national capital on Tuesday.

Kejriwal was campaigning for AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate from North West Delhi, Rakhi Birla, when the incident took place in outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri. The attack comes four days after Kejriwal was punched by a disgruntled party member in south east Delhi’s Dakshinpuri.

Police have identified the attacker as Lali, a 38-year-old auto-rickshaw driver who lives in outer Delhi’s Aman Vihar. The AAP, however, claim that the accused was not an auto-rickshaw driver, but an e-rickshaw driver.

According to police, Lali accused Kejriwal of betraying auto-rickshaw drivers. “They took Rs 10 as donation from us and they did not do any work,” Lali was heard shouting while in police custody.

The Kejriwal-led AAP government in the capital had promised to help auto drivers get rid of the finance mafias, to ensure an income of at least Rs 25,000 per month to every auto driver, improvement in the fare structure, action against seizure of vehicles by police and 5,500 new permits for the Delhi-NCR region, but none of the promises was transformed into reality.

On Tuesday, Kejriwal was taking part in the last road-show of the party in the capital with Birla. At around 1 pm, they were travelling in an open jeep in Kirari Suleman Nagar when Lali first garlanded Kejriwal amid cheering and clapping, and then slapped him on his left cheek. The AAP leader was attacked despite being surrounded by Delhi Police officers in plain clothes.

Lali was immediately pinned down to the ground by the AAP supporters and was beaten up before being handed over to police. Lali sustained injuries and is undergoing treatment at a government hospital. “We have registered a case of assault under the Indian Penal Code,” said a police officer.

Kejriwal left soon after attack and went to Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in central Delhi’s Rajghat. The AAP leader stayed there for an hour in silence. He thereafter returned home. “I went to Rajghat to pray to Gandhiji and sought his blessings to follow the path of non-violence and truth. We are going through a tough time and he should give us power to bear with it,” he said.

Citing threat to his life, Kejriwal said: “The attack was premeditated and planned by a particular person.” He, however, refused to accept security cover and said he has forgiven people who have attacked him in this election season.

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