The Delhi Police on Sunday stopped workers from the ruling Aam Aadmi Party from marching to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s house as part of their demonstration against the alleged strike of Indian Administrative Service officers in the state. The party workers began their strike at Mandi House but police officials blocked their movement at Sansad Marg. The protest march was later called off, reported News18.
“They are being told that they cannot go any further,” Deputy Police Commissioner Madhur Verma told ANI. “Specially trained personnel are deployed here. We are sure they [protestors] will listen to us.”
Hours before the protest march, the Delhi Metro shut five metro stations to prevent AAP workers and supporters to reach the venue of the protest. The Central Secretariat, Patel Chowk, Udyog Bhawan, Janpath and Lok Kalyan Marg (Race Course) metro stations will remain closed on Sunday.
AAP workers accused the Delhi Police of stopping people from joining a protest march. The Delhi Police, however, said that the ruling party did not have the required permission to conduct the march in the area.
“The call given by the Aam Aadmi Party to march towards the prime minister’s office or residence is without permission,” an unidentified police officer told PTI. “No permission has been applied for. As such the areas under New Delhi district are under prohibitory orders.”
Delhi AAP chief Gopal Rai said the Delhi Police has set up barricades all over the city and is going door to door asking people if they were joining the march.
Kejriwal and three of his Cabinet ministers have been protesting at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office since Monday evening to urge him to get the striking Indian Administrative Service officers in the state to return to work. On Sunday, Kejriwal tweeted: “Is the democracy safe in the hands of a prime minister who gets all work stalled in a state by asking officers to go on strike?”
Meanwhile, the IAS officers refused the Delhi government’s allegations that they were on a strike. “The information that IAS officers in Delhi are on strike is completely false and baseless,” IAS Association secretary Manisha Saxena said. “I would like to inform that we are not on strike. We are attending meetings, all departments are doing their works. We are sometimes also working on holidays.”
At the Niti Aayog’s governing council meeting, the chief ministers of West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh met Modi and urged him to resolve the standoff in Delhi.
Former Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit accused Kejriwal of making the public suffer to boost his “inflated ego”. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken demanded that Kejriwal end the strike immediately. On Friday, Dikshit claimed that the dharna was an “excuse not to work”.