DELHI: A young woman on Sunday threw ink at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a public rally held to celebrate the “success” of the odd-even scheme, triggering angry reactions from the AAP government, which alleged a BJP conspiracy behind the attack and assailed the police for “major” security lapse.
The woman, Bhavna Arora, a resident of west Delhi, came quite close to the lectern when Kejriwal was delivering his speech, waved some papers towards him, and then threw ink at the Chief Minister. There were ink stains on Kejriwal’s cheeks and some others standing close to him were also seen wiping off the liquid. The woman, who claimed to be a member of the Punjab unit of Aam Aadmi Sena, was later detained by police and whisked away to Model Town police station for questioning. A case was also registered.
Delhi police has sought permission from a duty magistrate to arrest the 26-year-old woman. Reacting sharply to the incident, an agitated Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia slammed the Delhi Police, calling the incident a “major security lapse” and wondered whether it was “sitting in readiness to stage an attack on Kejriwal.” “I can see a BJP conspiracy. They want to take advantage of such a situation and attack Kejriwal and the entire Cabinet. They may also kill people because they cannot stand the success of the odd-even scheme and AAP’s popularity among the masses. Police is a part of the conspiracy,” he told Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay rejected the allegations and, in turn, insinuated the incident could have been “stage managed”.
Responding to the charge, Delhi police said those were “misconceived and unfounded”. “A case has been registered and investigation will be done by Delhi Police,” Rajan Bhagat, Delhi Police spokesman said.
The incident happened around 4.50
PM when Kejriwal was five minutes into his address at the rally organised by the city government to thank people of Delhi for making the pilot road-rationing scheme a “grand success”.
There was a commotion following the ink attack, forcing Kejriwal to halt his speech for around seven minutes.
He later said, “Leave her. She is referring to some scam…CNG scam. Take the papers from her. “Whenever something good is attempted in the country or in Delhi some forces create all sorts of hurdles. As Gopal Rai said, many forces had tried to ensure the odd-even scheme failed,” he said. On Sisodia’s allegation, Upadhyay said, “The incident could well be a case of the activist’s frustration or stage- managed by Kejriwal himself to play his usual victim card.” The woman, on her part, claimed that she has “proof in the form of a CD” that “these people have committed CNG scam”.
While being whisked away by the police she also threw some papers toward the dais. The alleged CNG scam had happened under the previous Congress dispensation and the Kejriwal government had recently set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe it. Citing jurisdictional issues, the Centre had declared the probe as illegal, but an unfazed AAP government decided to continue with it. Reacting to the incident, AICC communication department chairman Randeep Surjewala said, “Attack on Delhi CM is in poor taste and reprehensible. Such conduct is unknown to Indian democratic tradition.”
Police said security arrangements were made as per laid down norms for Chief Minister’s events and that all aspects, including possible “conspiracy” angle, will be looked into. “Certain allegations have been levelled against Delhi Police by some functionaries of AAP and even by Hon ble Deputy CM Delhi. These are misconceived and unfounded. Appropriate law and order arrangements were made for Chhatrasal stadium function by Delhi Police,” Bhagat said.
“In fact, enhanced police deployment was made for law and order maintenance in view of the large crowd expected to attend the function. The deployment included one company of armed police and personnel from local police .
“As far as personal security of Hon ble CM is concerned, adequate cover is provided by Delhi Police which includes escort, pilot and Personal Security Officers. A team of security unit performed anti-sabotage check before the function and the team was covering Hon ble CM at the time of incident,” Delhi police said in a statement.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai termed the attack as “shameful”, while Water Resource Minister Kapil Mishra said people of Delhi will “punish” BJP. Both were seated on the dais at the time of the incident. Sisodia said the issue was not about Kejriwal’s security alone as the consequences, had it been a bomb or acid attack, would have been ghastly.
“Where is their (police) high alert? Delhi Police seems not to care for an event where thousands had gathered. There was no checking and police was not concerned about public security,” Sisodia said. He wondered how the woman was allowed to talk to reporters even after committing the act. “That means police is a part of the conspiracy and is with BJP.”
“We are against VIP security but the CM, his entire Cabinet and thousands were present there. How could she stay free for that long?” Sisodia, who was not present at the event, asked. “Centre should own responsibility and take action because such incidents have happened in the past as well. People who are staging these incidents, hathcing conspiracies from behind the scene, should be acted against,” he added.
AAP Delhi Chief Dilip Pandey tweeted, “I’m waiting for incompetent Delhi Police chief to start a series of interviews, as always, explaining why he is least bothered of what happend.”