Kejriwal warned against gherao of PM residence
New Delhi: Erstwhile Team Anna was on Saturday warned by the Delhi Police against staging protests outside the residences of the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and BJP chief Nitin Gadkari here tomorrow even as differences cropped up among the activists on the issue of targeting the opposition party on the coal block allocation issue.
Police refused permission to `India Against Corruption`, led by Arvind Kejriwal, for holding a dharna at Jantar Mantar from where they plan to march for the `gherao`, seeking a fresh undertaking to abide by stringent conditions to avert any law and order problem.
Two days after the activists announced that they will `gherao` Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s Race Course Road residence and that of Gadkari here, Kejriwal today said they will also protest outside the residences of Gandhi and Chief Ministers of opposition-ruled states Chhattisgarh (Raman Singh), Madhya Pradesh (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) and Odisha (Naveen Patnaik).
Differences over targeting BJP came to fore when Kiran Bedi came out in public saying they need to focus only on the party in power. However, both Bedi and Kejriwal sought to downplay the differences.
"I fully support Kejriwal`s call for Jantar Mantar rally. While I feel we need to focus on party in power, I respect his and others view to cover all...This is time for `a united front against corruption`. If we are fragmented, the corrupt will continue to be in power to protect itself," Bedi tweeted.
Kejriwal said Bedi was "completely" with them and "there could be two viewpoints on any issue. But he admitted that "her viewpoint is slightly different".
"We welcome her viewpoint. But the question is by replacing Congress with BJP, will the situation change? Can BJP or Samajwadi Party give us better future. I think they can`t," Kejriwal said. He had announced the protest alleging that Congress and BJP were hand-in-glove on the coal block allocation issue.
Police also shot off a letter to the organisers seeking a
fresh undertaking from one of the prominent members of erstwhile Team Anna for the dharna.
The letter by Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) K C Dwivedi dated August 23 was made public today on the Facebook page of India Against Corruption.
In the letter to Kumar, Dwivedi said, they had come to know about gherao through media and these localities are placed under prohibitory orders.
"Violation of its provisions will attract legal action and will be against the conditions of the undertaking to be furnished by the organiser. It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to advise your organisation to desist from indulging in any unlawful act which may disturb law and order," he said.
Citing seven violations during their previous protest at Jantar Mantar for which Kumar gave an undertaking, Dwivedi said their past experiences shows that they cannot rely on his assurances as he was not able to direct the actions of leaders and participants as per the conditions of the undertaking.
"...It is imperative that the undertaking is furnished by such office bearer of your organisation who can exercise control over everyone participating in the proposed dharna," he said.
The letter said Kumar, who gave the undertaking for the protest from July 25 to August three, could not control the speakers or participants.
As against the undertaking, Dwivedi said the protesters had then occupied the entire Jantar Mantar Road resulting in closure of traffic for days together while participants staged fast on roads and marched to India Gate on July 29 without permission.
The letter noted that people staged protests outside the residences of Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in contravention of the undertaking given by Kumar.
It said another team member Shazia Ilmi "gave a call" to protesters at India Gate to gherao the Prime Minister`s residence which created a "riotous" situation. A case has been registered in this connection.
Another point which police found was the opening of an open flame kitchen for preparing and distributing food to the supporters at the venue. "This could have endangered lives of the people present at Jantar Mantar Road," the letter said.
The letter said the fasting activists Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and others did not heed to the instructions for medical intervention.
Delhi Police said they have taken adequate precaution to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the protest.
In a precautionary measure, six Metro stations -- Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk, Race Course, Jor Bagh and Khan Market -- in Central Delhi will remain closed from 8 AM to 6 PM tomorrow.
"Are metro stations closed during BJP and Congress rallies also? Does it mean parties and politicians are not a threat but the people of this country are a threat to the country?" Kejriwal said.
Bedi said closing metro stations to make it inconvenient for people to come to Jantar Mantar rally was "completely undemocratic".
Last week, the activists had threatened to file a PIL in court and carry out a referendum to "expose" the UPA on coal block allocations if the government does not constitute a special team to probe allegations.
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