Arvind Kejriwal calls off protest

L-G sends two police officials on leave

Arvind Kejriwal calls off protest

Claiming victory, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday evening called off his two-day protest after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung informed him about a decision to “send on leave” some of the “lax” police officials whose suspension the AAP leader was demanding.

“It is a victory of Delhi people,” said 45-year-old Kejriwal, addressing cheering supporters around 7:30 pm, ending the drama and virtual siege at the heart of the city, which put commuters to inconvenience and forced closure of four Metro stations.

Kejriwal also announced that the action was a “partial” acceptance of their demand, but a “concrete” step towards bringing the Delhi Police under the control of the state government had to be taken.   

The agitation ended just in time for defence authorities to take control of the area, very close to the venue of the Republic Day parade, and sanitise the zone ahead of the national event.

“We will continue our agitation to get full statehood for Delhi,” the chief minister said as he drew curtains on a protest which was hailed by supporters and condemned by others who questioned his confrontationist, street-fighter approach to pursue his demand.

“In a letter to us, the lieutenant governor has requested to end the protest citing the dignity of Republic Day celebrations and threat to national security. He has also sent two policemen—Paharganj PCR van in-charge and Malviya Nagar SHO—on leave, partially meeting our demands.

And in the third case of Sagarpur, the police have arrested the rest of the culprits two days back. So we are calling off the protest,” he said. Kejriwal had sought action against four policemen.

It was a day of fast-paced developments. The police caned AAP volunteers around 4 pm. They broke a barricade and tried to join Kejriwal’s protest.

The police were stoned by alleged AAP supporters, who almost came to blows with the men in khaki, and the chief minister refused to shift his protest to another venue.

He continued verbal attacks on Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and defended Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who is facing heat for allegedly harassing Ugandan women during a “raid” in south Delhi.

During the day, Delhi ministers could be seen clearing files while sitting in cars. Kejriwal and key party leaders also held meetings in a room in Rail Bhawan after the caning, in which, according to the AAP leaders, 20 workers were injured. Two policemen also sustained injuries.

After spending the night on the road, Kejriwal and his supporters found themselves in a spot of bother due to cold winds and rain in the morning, even as the party arranged food for the protesters.

Kejriwal’s wife was among the first to visit the protest site as she brought home made food for the chief minister.

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