Live: Kejriwal calls off dharna after police assure action against SHO
Arvind Kejriwal is holding an emergency internal meeting with AAP's Parliamentary Affairs Committee members at Press Club.
New Delhi: Updates: 8:30 pm:All the four Metro stations which were shut due to AAP's protest in central Delhi have now been reopened.
8:10 pm:Reacting to Kejriwal's action to call off dharna, Kiran Bedi tweets, "A climb down for CM of delhi! From seeking suspensions of 4 to only 1 going on leave! Erring Ministers stay on regardless! Unjust+Shameful!"
8:05 pm:BJP Delhi President Vijay Goel takes a dig at Arvind Kejriwal's decision to call off the agitation after protesting for two days. He asked, "Did Kejriwal played this entire drama just to send two cops on leave."
8:01 pm:"We will go by what the Lt Governor has told us and not by the version of Delhi Police, " says AAP spokesperson Ashutosh.
8:00 pm:The SHO had already applied for leave, says Deepak Mishra, Special Commissioner, Law & Order.
7.51 pm: AAP spokesperson Ashutosh says, "Not a single file has been stuck due to the dharna. CM cleared 50 files."
7.49 pm: Lt Governor Najeeb Jung issues statement, says Malviya Nagar SHO and in-charge of the Paharganj PCR Van will be on leave.
7.41 pm: Arvind Kejriwal calls off his agitation after Delhi Police assures action against SHOs. The Chief Minister calls it a victory of people of Delhi and adds that the Lieutenant Governor has assured a judicial enquiry into the matter.
7.13 pm: Arun Jaitley tweets, "Only an anarchist unaware of the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters can undermine Dr. Ambedkar 's Constitution and the Republic Day."
6.50 pm: Meeting on Republic Day security arrangements to be held on Wednesday at MHA.
6.26 pm: Home Ministry sources say the Central government is not worried about Kejriwal dharna. "Five days left for January 26. We will take each day at a time. The venue for the dharna is in any case not on the parade route."
6.21 pm: The RPF will not allow Arvind Kejriwal to hold meetings inside Rail Bhavan premises, say sources.
6.10 pm: Kiran Bedi demands dismissal of AAP government, imposition of President's rule. "Elected Government which practices and promotes anarchy ought to be dismissed by the President of India without further loss of time!" she tweeted.
6.04 pm: Arvind Kejriwal meets Yogendra Yadav, Somnath Bharti and Manish Sisodia at the Press Club. Ashish Talwar and Sanjay Singh have been asked to join the meeting.
5.50 pm: AAP spokesperson Ashutosh says, "We have a plan for Republic Day, there will be no disruptions. We are open to dialogue. Kejriwal is a responsible Chief Minister."
5.45 pm: Kejriwal meets AAP's Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) members at Press Club.
5.43 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal holds emergency meeting with AAP's Parliamentary Affairs Committee members at Press Club.
5.27 pm: Eleven people injured in clashes between AAP supporters and Delhi Police.
5.18 pm: Rebel AAP MLA attacks Arvind Kejriwal, says the Chief Minister has taken to the streets only to "save his minister", and adds that he will make an important announcement at 12 noon on Wednesday.
5.15 pm: Congress slams AAP government, says Arvind Kejriwal is not behaving like a responsible Chief Minister. The Congress also says that a decision on continuing support to AAP will be taken at an "appropriate time".
4.54 pm: Delhi Police chief BS Bassi reaches North Block to meet Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
4.51 pm: ABP correspondent Ratna Shukla heckled by crowd at AAP protest site. AAP's Rakhi Birla and Sanjay Singh apologise for the targeting of journalists.
4.30 pm: Arun Jaitley to CNN-IBN: "There is total chaos in Delhi. Delhi is a city that needs governance. It aspires to be a global city. Governments are run by the rule of law, not anarchy."
4.25 pm: Joint Commissioner of Police Mukesh Meena says, "AAP supporters are pelting stones, they are breaking the barricading."
4.17 pm: AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleges that eight of his party activists have been injured in police lathicharge and adds that the police behaved with them in a high-handed manner.
4.15 pm: Delhi Police denies lathicharging AAP protesters. Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi tells CNN-IBN, "AAP is completely violating Section 144. Section 144 is already imposed in this area. AAP is continuously violating that. We are exploring all possibilities including detaining them under section 65 of Delhi Police Act."
4:02 pm: As fresh clashes broke out between AAP supporters and Delhi Police, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other senior party leaders are meeting inside Rail Bhawan.
3:50 pm: Delhi Police have lathicharged AAP protesters after they tried to break barricades at the dharna site.
3:29 pm: AAP member Captain Gopinath has come out against Kejriwal's dharna. "Kejriwal and ministers must return to Cabinet, instead just party workers must protest. The Cabinet must look at larger issues, not just of policemen suspension, Delhi Police should not come under the state," Captain Gopinath said.
He has also hit out at Somnath Bharti's comment against BJP leader Aruna Jaitley saying Bharti must apologise.
3:07 pm: Contractual teachers are protesting against Arvind Kejriwal at the same venue, saying they've been protesting for seven days and CM hasn't met them.
2:38 pm: BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain has tweeted, "How can any party oppose Republic Day? It is a festival of all Indians. It does not belong to any particular party or section of society."
2:25 pm: A scuffle has been reported between AAP protesters and police outside the Rail Bhawan. One policeman has also reportedly been injured. The police have cordoned off the area.
1:54 pm: A group of BJP workers led by Vijay Goel are also protesting at the same protest site against Kejriwal's dharna.
1:47 pm: Former Team Anna member Santosh Hegde has come out against Arvind Kejriwal's Delhi dharna. "I don't think what's happening in Delhi is either correct or lawful. The victims are the citizens of Delhi, this is unheard of for a government to do such a thing. Tomorrow Delhi people will stand outside secretariat and say they won't allow them to function," Hegde said.
1:34 pm: The Ministry of Defence is to be handed over the area where Republic Day Parade takes place by the evening of January 23.
1:25 pm: "If AAP is violating the Republic Day, it is violating the Constitution on which they took oath of office. If they disrupt, they will have to answer to the people," said Minister of State for I&B Manish Tewari.
1:05 pm: AAP supporters have once again tried to break barricades at Raisina Hill.
12:36 pm: The Delhi Police has sent a report on Kejriwal's protest to Home Ministry. Sources say that the Delhi Police feels that AAP supporters are provoking them, but the policemen have been advised to show restraint. Sources say the Delhi Police is monitoring the situation and no decision has been taken yet on forcible eviction. The MHA is willing to give Kejriwal time till Jan 24 after which the process of sanitising the parade areas begins, sources say.
12:18 pm: The BJP has accused the AAP of insulting Army soldiers by not letting them go ahead with Republic Day parade preparations. "AAP is insulting Army jawans by creating disturbance in Republic Day preparations," said BJP leader Prakash Javadekar. "The Congress is taking no steps to stop Kejriwal. This is a game plan by the Congress and Kejriwal," he added.
11:25: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a PIL filed against the dharna by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The PIL says Kejriwal has gone against the law while Section 144 is in place in Central Delhi.
The PIL also points out that Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti tried to take law in his own hands by conducting a midnight raid in Khirki village.
10:39 am: AAP minister Rakhi Birla says that the dharna will continue till the government gives in. "We'll continue protesting till the government gives in, we'll continue fighting for the people," she says.
10:23 am: Delhi Transport Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj has blamed the Congress for the inconvenience being caused to the people of Delhi. "Stopping the metro and blocking roads are a conspiracy of the Congress. People are facing inconvenience because of the Congress. Policemen are suspended for the slighest reasons, so why not now? The government should think that Republic Day is nearing and end this," Bhardwaj said.
9:59 am: It has now started raining in Delhi, but Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters are continuing to stay on dharna in Central Delhi.
9:45 am: The Bharatiya Janata Party has hot out at Kejriwal saying he is demeaning the Republic Day. "We condemn how the Delhi Chief Minister is demeaning the Republic Day celebration," said BJP leader Prakash Javadekar.
9:26 am: Arvind Kejriwal has said that the BJP, Congress and a section of the media are misleading people.
9:07 am: "I appeal to all the people from Delhi to take a day off from work and join the dharna, sit on dhrana wherever you are stopped," Kejriwal says. In a major problem for the police, people have managed to reach the protest site despite barricading.
9:01 am: Arvind Kejriwal has refused to move his dharna venue to Jantar Mantar saying he is the Delhi Chief Minister and he can sit on dharna wherever he wants to. "Shinde should not shut the metros. The whole area has been cordoned off, tiolets in the buildings are closed. Who is Shinde to decide where we will protest? I am the CM of Delhi," he said.
8:59 am: Delhi Traffic Police tweets, "Due to encompass by AAP workers Rajender Parsad road, Rafi Marg, Raisina Road and Red Cross road has been closed."
8:38 am: The AAP government is demanding two things - full control over the Delhi Police and the suspension of policemen who refused to bow down to Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti's diktats during the midnight raid in Khirki village.
8:13 am: The crowds at Arvind Kejriwal's protest site have started swelling.
7:43 am: Arvind Kejriwal tried to open the barricades at the Rail Bhawan forcefully. He then tried to get some supporters on his side of the barricade. Kejriwal is now sitting at Raisina Road.
7:31 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal spent the night sleeping on a pavement outside the Rail Bhawan as he continued his dharna against the Delhi Police. He has now threatened to go on an indefinite dharna if his demands are not met. "We'll continue the dharna till our demands are met. There can't be a better Republic Day than this," he said early on Tuesday morning.
He even said that if by January 26 his demands aren't met, he'll gather people at the Rajpath. "If our demands are not met then we will go for an indefinite protest. If by January 26, our demands are not met, then we will fill Rajpath with lakhs of people," he said.
In a scene unprecedented in the annals of democracy, Delhi's ruling AAP on Monday laid siege to an important arterial avenue of the capital as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in power for three weeks, declared he was an "anarchist" and vowed to continue protests till his government is given control over Delhi Police.
Directly confronting the federal government and unfazed by the criticism for resorting to activism, Kejriwal, sitting close to the seat of power in the Indian capital, thundered, "Yes, I am an anarchist.
Kejriwal even asked "honest" policemen to take leave and join him in his street protest at Rail Bhavan that, he warned, could extend to 10 long days in the bitter cold. He said he would run the city government from the protest site. The siege, happening five days before the Jan 26 Republic Day parade in which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the chief guest, put the central government in a quandary as the Congress party supports the AAP government from outside.
His action was roundly criticised by other political parties, including the main opposition BJP, whose leader Arun Jaitley wondered "did the AAP form the government to wreck the system from within."
Kejriwal and his largely young, white-cap wearing army of chanting and clapping supporters, appeared headed for a long stand-off with the authorities. There were scuffles between the AAP supporters and police personnel, who wanted Kejriwal and his men to move to Jantar Mantar area further downtown, where demonstrations normally take place.
The atmosphere was tense at times when AAP supporters shouted slogans against the police. Delhi Transport Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj said he was detained by the police, a charge that was denied by officials.
In the morning, defying prohibitory orders, Kejriwal and his six cabinet colleagues tried to reach union Home Minister Sushilkumar Sinde's office in North Block to demand action against five policemen who did not heed his ministers. But a large posse of policemen and paramilitary stopped the 45-year-old chief minister, an activist-turned-politician, and his team midway.
The chief minister and his group then alighted from their cars and staged the sit-in near the Rail Bhavan, not far from Parliament House.
In no time, after he had addressed the supporters, Kejriwal and his ministers started official work at the protest site - studying and signing files.
Speaking to a news agency his secretary Rajendra Kumar said, "I have nothing to do with the protest. I am carrying out the instructions of the CM." He also said that a Delhi cabinet meeting is scheduled for Tuesday and it may be held at the protest site.
In his impromptu address to his supporters, Kejriwal squarely blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shinde and the central government for the situation that has led to his protests and appealed people to join him. He said any crisis arising out of the situation, including disturbance in holding the Republic Day parade, will be the responsibility of the central government.
Home Minister Shinde, who supervises Delhi Police, rejected his demand of police control, saying police could not be put under the city government as Delhi was the national capital. He also asked Kejriwal to call off his protest keeping in mind the stature of the chief minister's office.
Shinde also announced that Delhi's Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had ordered a judicial inquiry into the matter. An angry Kejriwal rejected Shinde's plea.
By evening, many volunteers carrying durries and mats to spend the night on sat near the protest site in small groups, waved the Indian national flags and sang devotional songs.
The unprecedented protest forced Delhi Metro to shut four major stations, causing inconvenience to thousands of commuters. The Metro also announced that two metro stations that lead to Rail Bhavan will be closed on Tuesday too.
Slamming Kejriwal, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari charged the chief minister and his ministers with "constitutional anarchy" and "gimmickry".
The face-off between Delhi Police and the three-week-old Delhi government erupted after Delhi's Law Minister Somnath Bharti accused some officers of not taking action against an alleged sex-and-drug racket involving some Ugandan nationals.
The issue escalated into a near diplomatic row after a group of Ugandans and Nigerians accused Bharti and AAP volunteers of misbehaviour.
(With additional information from IANS)