Kejriwal, disabled detained

NEW DELHI, Oct 12:
Amid high drama, Arvind Kejriwal and about 100 activists, including disabled people, were detained today, after they were stopped from marching towards Prime Minister’s residence demanding the resignation of Salman Khurshid alleging irregularities by an NGO run by him.
Kejriwal and around 100 activists of Rashtriya Viklang Party (RVP) and India Against Corruption marched towards Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s Race Course Road residence from Janpath around noon but were prevented from moving ahead after about 50 metres into their march.
Waving tricolor and raising slogans against Khurshid, the protesters sat infront of barricades manned by a large number of police personnel.
Kejriwal then announced that the day-long protest will now be an indefinite one till Khurshid resigns from the Cabinet. He also demanded the arrest of the Minister and his wife Louise Khurshid, who is the project director of the NGO Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.
However, around 3 pm, police asked the protesters including Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, to end the protest on the road, and three-four of their leaders could be taken to Prime Minister’s residence.
This was rejected by the activists and soon, police detained all of them. Activists, including Kejriwal, whose shirt was torn, alleged that they were manhandled.
Kejriwal was taken to Bawana in a police van while other activists were taken to Parliament Street Police Station.
He said now this is a fight to finish and “now let’s make this place another Tahrir Square”, in a reference to the uprising in Egypt last year which led to the overthrowing of the Hosni Mubarak regime.
Kejriwal-led IAC had been maintaining that it was a protest programme by RVP and they were just guests. But after Kejriwal’s protest IAC started sending text messages asking people to join the protest.
Kejriwal claimed he had sought time from the Prime Minister but his office refused to give him and disabled people any appointment.
The IAC had alleged financial irregularities in the functioning of the Trust run by Khurshid and his wife Louis, a charge denied by both. Khurshid has also threatened to take Kejriwal to court.
In a statement, India Against Corruption said Kejriwal and other activists have decided not to leave the makeshift jail in Bawana until Khurshid is removed from his post.
“Both the minister and his wife are influential people and they can tamper with evidence,” Kejriwal said.
While Rai was taken to Parliament Street Police Station along with some supporters, Kejriwal and Sisodia were taken to the makeshift jail at Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Bawana. Later, Rai was also taken to Bawana.
“We call upon all those people sympathizing with the cause to come forward and join the satyagraha for removal of the Union Law Minister,” he said.
Similar protests were observed in many other cities including Farukkhabad, Lucknow, Amritsar, Patna, Bhopal, Dehradun, Indore, Jaipur, Raipur, Ludhiana, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai, he said.
At the AICC, party spokesperson Manish Tewari took a jibe at activists including Kejriwal, who complained that they were manhandled during the protest march to the Prime Minister’s residence.
“These activists have only now got admitted in the so-called school of agitation. Congress has already had many headmasters from it. When you hold an agitation, your have to be prepared for it. We have also participated in agitation but we never complained that we were hit with sticks. They are new to it. They will take time to attune to it,” he said.
Tewari at the same time refused to go into the specifics of allegations against the trust saying that a clarification has already come from the minister in this regard.
“He (Khurshid) has also said that he was seriously considering to take a legal recourse,” he said.
About Khurshid’s remark that the activists led by Kejriwal have done worse than behaving like gutter snipes, he said that each of us has our own felicity with the language.
“If the raison d’ etre of some people is that you take pride in insinuation allegations,… Then other people also have the right to chose their language of expression,” he said virtually justifying Khurshid’s angry reaction.
Meanwhile in a press release, Louise Khurshid, who is the Project Director of Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, said that the document being flashed by certain news channels regarding the said NGO is not a CAG report.
“The document is merely an excerpt from an initial internal report, which seeks, from Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to give certain clarifications. Neither the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust nor any of its functionaries have been questioned by the CAG or by the Ministry,” she said.
“We categorically reiterate that there has been no misappropriation of any funds. All appropriate documentation including proof of camps, all beneficiary lists and utilisation certificate duly audited, have been submitted,” she said. (PTI)


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