"Anarchic" Arvind Kejriwal in protest standoff with police

NEW DELHI Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:13pm IST

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (C), leader of the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party (AAP), addresses his supporters during a protest in New Delhi January 20, 2014.REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (C), leader of the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party (AAP), addresses his supporters during a protest in New Delhi January 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters launched a sit-in against the city police on Monday, creating traffic chaos and a standoff with hundreds of officers in the latest radical step by the anti-graft crusader who has shaken up a national election.

Baton-wielding police were deployed to prevent Kejriwal from taking his protest against alleged police inaction in crimes to the doors of the colonial-era headquarters of the home ministry.

Delhi's police are under the control of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, an arrangement that has irked successive chief ministers. In most Indian states, local government controls law and order.

Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), took office in December after a stunning debut in a state election, and is now trying to build the party's presence before a national poll due by May.

On Monday he called on the public to join him in a ten-day protest to demand the police be transferred to his control. Critics say his demonstration was inviting chaos in one of India's most sensitive security areas, minutes away from parliament and the prime minister's office. It has led to those closure of five metro stations.

"Some say I am an anarchist, that I am spreading anarchy. I am willing to agree to that," Kejriwal told demonstrators, saying police inaction against crime spread chaos.

"So, today I want to spread that anarchy to Shinde's home too. I have come to spread anarchy in the police commissioner's house too."

Later supporters scuffled with police.

Delhi police, widely seen as corrupt and ineffective, were the focus of public fury last year after a December gang rape and murder highlighted how dangerous the city had become for women.

Kerjiwal's supporters say that recent cases, including police reaction to the alleged rape of a Danish woman and another attack on a woman last week, are examples of failures.

Political rivals and some former allies have accused the one-time tax-collector of irresponsible governance and "mobocracy".

"If a chief minister sits on a protest, who will run the government?" asked Meem Afzal, a spokesman for the Congress party, which leads the central government's coalition.

In a dramatic first few weeks of city government, Kejriwal slashed prices of public utilities and faced a near stampede at a political meeting when thousands turned up to seek solutions to their grievances.

On Monday, Kejriwal appeared to settle in to his new open-air office, receiving government files at the protest site to continue his official work.

The latest row began after Delhi's law minister was filmed arguing with police during a night raid in a neighbourhood popular with African immigrants. Police refused to search a house the minister claimed was being used as a brothel, saying they did not have a warrant to go in.

"It is about accountability," said AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta. "Who is accountable for these things?"

(Reporting by Sruthi Gottipati and Malini Menon; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel: Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
prakashmanik wrote:
what AK want to do is correct but the way he is doing i don think so a CM of country should do it in-spite getting a comment from the home minister AK showed the power to say ”i Am the CM and no one needs to tell me where to stay and where not” by this point AK has proven himself wrong saying about the power he have……he should abide by the law..

Jan 21, 2014 11:27am IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Consumer Confidence Index

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Corruption Probe

Corruption Probe

India to probe corruption in healthcare after TV sting.  Full Article 

Food Scandal

Food Scandal

Starbucks, Burger King dragged in as China food scandal spreads.  Full Article 

Bigger iPhones

Bigger iPhones

Apple asks suppliers to produce up to 80 mln large-screen iPhones - WSJ.  Full Article 

Gaza Conflict

Gaza Conflict

Israel keeps up Gaza assaults, Kerry presses for truce.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crash

Ukraine Crash

Bodies, black boxes handed over from Ukraine crash site.  Full Article 

Bali Trade Deal

Bali Trade Deal

India keeps world guessing in countdown to landmark trade pact deadline.  Full Article 

Bangalore Sex Abuse

Bangalore Sex Abuse

Modi's BJP puts political twist on local sex abuse case   Full Article 

Yahoo to buy Flurry

Yahoo to buy Flurry

Yahoo to buy analytics startup Flurry to bolster mobile ad business.  Full Article 

Wholesale Biz

Wholesale Biz

Wal-Mart adds $102.9 million in Indian wholesale business in June.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage