AAP protesters also vandalised boards and hoardings mounted at the BJP office
The Capital saw an ugly repercussion of Arvind Kejriwal’s detention hours after it happened in Gujarat on Wednesday. Several Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party volunteers sustained injuries in a face-off during which they reportedly threw stones, sticks and plastic chairs at each other outside the BJP headquarters at Ashoka Road.
Soon after news about Mr. Kejriwal’s brief detention broke, his party men including several Delhi MLAs and candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections gathered outside the BJP headquarters. Accusing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of trying to suppress dissent and criticism, they tried to barge in and raised slogans against him and his party.
The protesters wanted to know if Mr. Modi was so confident about the claims of development in his State why was he scared of someone going there and having a look himself. This did not go down well with the BJP workers present inside the office and they allegedly beat up AAP leader Ashutosh with sticks and injured him..
Soon pelting of stones started. Despite repeated requests from Ashutosh to his party workers to maintain calm, stones and other articles were thrown from both the sides.
The police had to use water cannon on the protesters. They regrouped a brief while later and soon the pelting became intense with both sides throwing whatever they could lay their hands on. They even exchanged occasional abuses.
The AAP protesters also vandalised boards and hoardings mounted at the BJP office and declared that whatever Mr. Modi was doing was because he was scared of the popularity Mr. Kejriwal has been gaining.
Among those injured was The Hindu photographer Rajeev Bhatt when a plastic chair hit him. “I was inside the BJP headquarters clicking pictures. With the main door closed those on the road could only be heard. All of a sudden a stone came my way and I ducked to save myself. Before I could regain my balance, another plastic chair had been hurled in my direction and the only way I could save myself was by blocking it with my hand,” said Mr. Bhatt.
This left volunteers from both sides injured and they were seen nursing their injuries. The police then used water cannon once again; this time on both sides.
After warning the AAP protesters of legal action, the police told them to leave and erected barricades outside the office.
AAP leader Shazia Ilmi criticised the police action and said it was a “sign of things to come” if Mr. Modi was to take over as the Prime Minister.