NEW DELHI: Former AAP leader and founder member of “Swaraj Abhiyan” Yogendra Yadav was arrested on Tuesday for violating the prohibitory orders while he was holding a protest and demanding adequate compensation for the farmers at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. He later was released by a court.
Following the arrest, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came out in support of Yadav, four months after they had a bitter public falling out leading to Yadav’s ouster from the party. The AAP leaders tried to reach out, however, they were snubbed by Yadav’s supporters. AAP leader Sanjay Singh along with his supporters went to Parliament Street Police Station to meet Yadav, but he was heckled and booed away by Yadav’s supporters.
Yadav and former AAP leader and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan were expelled from AAP in April after they raised questions over the functioning style of Kejriwal. The two expelled AAP leaders formed Swaraj Abhiyan and started a campaign -- Jai Kisan Andolan -- against the alleged “anti-farmer” policies of the Centre.
“Yadav and 85 others were arrested at around 1.30 am today. They had permission to carry out the protest for two days. Last evening, they asked to extend for permission until August 16. As the deadline got over, we asked them to vacate the place,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijay Singh.
Later in the day, Yadav and the other volunteers were produced before a Special Magistrate at Mandir Marg Police station. The Special Magistrate ordered unconditional release of Yadav and other members.
Yadav alleged that he and his men were thrashed and beaten up by the policemen. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, however, claimed that none of his members were manhandled. Asked about the allegations, Delhi Police Chief BS Bassi said the police has always acted in the ambit of law. “We always act within the ambit of the law,” he said.
They were holding the ‘tractor rally’ demanding the adequate compensation for the farmers. Their rally culminated into a day-long protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, which was attended by farmers from many states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. After rally, there was a protest scheduled till Monday.
On Sunday midnight a minor clash also took place between Yadav’s supporters and policemen when they were asked to end the protest. At least seven protestors and four policemen were injured in the clash. Police had also lodged a case under relevant sections in connection with the incident on Tuesday.
“On Monday night, we tried to convince them that section 144 is imposed in the area and they were not allowed to continue the protest. Ignoring our repeated requests, when they tried to march towards the prime minister residence, they were taken into custody,” Singh said.
But Yadav said, “We did not intend to march towards Race Course road. Our plan was to stand with the plough at Jantar Mantar, as a symbolic protest, till August 15. Since when standing with plough has become a crime?”
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had lashed out at police, saying it is the fundamental right of every citizen to protest peacefully and demanded that Home Minister Rajnath Singh seek a report from police on the incident. “I appeal to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to step in and ask for a report regarding the issue,” Kejriwal said.
Interestingly, the drama continue entire day as Dharamvira Gandhi, AAP’s MP form Patiala, said that when he along with a JD(U) MP went to the Parliament Street Police Station, they were denied a meeting with Yadav. Earlier, Bhushan also said that he was not allowed to meet Yadav or any volunteer despite repeated attempts though it was their “constitutional right”. He called the police’s action as “dictatorial” and “authorative” and filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Delhi High Court.