Police have arrested 14 AAP members on charges of rioting outside the BJP office here and said on Thursday they were looking two key AAP leaders. The AAP accused the police of bias.
A police officer told IANS that the 14, including a professor, were taken into custody for the clashes that took place between AAP and BJP activists here on Wednesday evening. The clashes followed a noisy demonstration the Aam Aadmi Party staged outside the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters after police there briefly detained party leader Arvind Kejriwal in Gujarat Wednesday. The official said police were looking AAP leaders Shazia Ilmi and Ashutosh, both former journalists.
Both took part in the protest, which turned ugly with a section of BJP activists hurling stones and chairs from inside the office. AAP supporters retaliated from the outside.
Police used water canons to disperse the demonstrators. One or two AAP member climbed onto a police van to stop the water spray. Several members were injured. A first information report (FIR) registered against the AAP named the two journalists along with professor Anand Kumar besides some AAP legislators.
Police said a total of 33 people were detained after the clashes. They were booked for unlawful assembly, rioting, assault on public servants and unlawful activities. Some were let off Thursday morning. Ashutosh tweeted to say that Delhi Police was biased because they had not arrested anyone from the BJP and were targeting only the AAP. He expressed surprise that the "respected" Anand Kumar had been arrested.
Senior AAP leader and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan echoed the charge. "Both the police and the BJP seem determined to crush the AAP," he said.
Kejriwal, who began a four-day tour of Gujarat Wednesday to "expose" Chief Minister Narendra Modi, again urged his party members to stay calm. "We have to be prepared for such things. I request our workers ... like I did yesterday to not to resort to violence," Kejriwal told the media. Kejriwal reiterated that he had already apologized for the conduct of some of his workers Wednesday and was doing so again. "We are on the path of truth which is a very difficult one. We have to be prepared to sacrifice. Under no circumstances should we indulge in violence," he added.