Delhi

AAP leaders term arrest “political vendetta”

Aam Admi Party leaders (from left) Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Manish Sisodia addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Aam Admi Party leaders (from left) Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Manish Sisodia addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty   | Photo Credit: SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY

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A day after the police arrested Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Dilip Pandey and some party workers on charges of inciting communal violence by putting up inflammatory posters, senior AAP leaders here on Saturday alleged that the volunteers were arrested on bogus charges and it was part of a “political vendetta”. They accused the NDA Government of targeting the AAP after the BJP’s attempts to buy the Delhi MLAs were exposed.

Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia and national executive member Sanjay Singh said at a press conference that the only charge the police could find against Mr. Pandey was that he had received copies of e-mails containing posters naming three Congress MLAs willing to support a BJP Government.

“By no stretch of imagination could this be described as an offence under any provision of law,” said Mr. Sisodia, a former Delhi Minister. He said the AAP had nothing to do with the posters, which the police had found objectionable and inflammatory.

Mr. Sisodia said two AAP volunteers, Gaurav and Abid, were arrested two days ago and tortured in custody in a bid to force them to name senior party leaders as accomplices. When the police did succeed, two more party workers and Mr. Pandey were forcibly brought to the police station on Friday and arrested late in the night.

The AAP leaders alleged that the police personnel had entered party offices in different parts of the city and taken away laptops ostensibly to create false evidence. The same police force did not find anything objectionable when party chief Arvind Kejriwal was branded as CIA agent.

According to the AAP, the sequence of events leading to the posters coming up in the Muslim-dominated Okhla region and the police swinging into action could not be connected with the party in any manner. Okhla resident Amanatullah has written to the police that it was he who had prepared and pasted the posters in the Assembly areas of the three Congress legislators.

The posters were prepared with the help of a few AAP volunteers in their individual capacity. Mr. Amanatullah stated in the posters that the three Congress MLAs were going to extend support to the BJP after taking Rs.20 crore each from the party. The posters appealed to the people to lay a siege to the houses of these legislators.

Mr. Sisodia said that instead of taking Mr. Amanatullah into custody, the police was targeting AAP office-bearers and volunteers on flimsy grounds likes inciting communal tension.

“The police have obviously launched action under political pressure from the highest level. They are acting at the behest of the BJP.”

Mr. Singh said the BJP, which had a track record of “revenge politics”, was resorting to Gujarat-style tactics to target its political opponents. “Do they want to make Delhi another Gujarat, where innocents are framed in false cases and killed in encounters?”

He said the AAP supporters will come out on roads and protest against the incident. “We are ready to go to polls. Is the BJP willing to face the people in the elections rather than trying to form a Government by deceit?”

AAP leader Ashutosh asked the police force not to act under political pressure of the ruling party in the Centre. He said three dozen police officers were at present behind bars in Gujarat for their illegal actions taken at the behest of the ruling BJP.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 3:18:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/aap-leaders-term-arrest-political-vendetta/article6230293.ece

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