The Delhi Police have warned India Against Corruption (IAC) of legal action against any attempts to gherao the residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP president Nitin Gadkari during a dharnato be held under its aegis at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday. Citing a series of violations of an undertaking given by the organisation for holding a fast a month ago, the police have, this time, sought the undertaking by “such office-bearer who can exercise control over everyone participating in the proposed dharna.”
The IAC has so far not responded to the letter and apparently plans to go ahead with the dharna as decided.
In response to an IAC letter informing the police about the proposed peaceful dharna by about 1,000 people, including Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and Kiran Bedi, the police shot off a letter to the organisation on August 23, stating that during the last dharna at Jantar Mantar “it was observed that you [IAC] had no control whatsoever, neither on the speakers on stage nor on participants…”
As a result, the police said, as against the undertaking, the organisation occupied the entire Jantar Mantar Road which had to be closed for traffic for days. The letter said that on many occasions the participants of the fast staged protests on roads, and on instigation from the stage even took out a march to India Gate and gathered there on July 29 without permission.
It further alleged that due to a call given from the stage on July 28, more than 100 supporters gathered outside Dr. Singh’s residence, without prior permission or notice, and staged snap demonstrations. “They defaced the walls of Dr. Singh’s house and committed other unlawful acts in contravention of the undertaking given by you,” it said, pointing out a similar protest outside the residence of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
The police letter also mentioned that a case had been registered on August 1 in connection with an alleged call by Shazia Ilvi to the protesters at India Gate to gherao Dr. Singh’s residence. They accused the IAC of setting up an open-flame kitchen at the venue to prepare and distribute food, which “could have endangered the lives of people present on Jantar Mantar Road.”
Stating that despite the undertaking, Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Sisodia and others who were fasting did not heed instructions for medical intervention, the police expressed their inability to rely on the assurances given by the IAC in the form of an undertaking.
The police have also cited media reports stating that Mr. Kejriwal has given a call to gherao the residences of Dr. Singh and Mr. Gadkari. The police informed the IAC that the entire city, except parts of Jantar Mantar and Parliament Street, was under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and hence, any such act would be a violation of the provision.