No security, but Delhi CM doesn’t want aam aadmi to get close

Two months after officially turning down security meant for a Chief Minister, both the Delhi Government and Arvind Kejriwal underwent a change of heart on more than one occasion, according to highly-placed sources.

Since assuming office, requests to “restrict” both “general public and the media from the immediate vicinity of the Chief Minister” have been made on separate instances through verbal communications between senior officials from Mr. Kejriwal's office and the security unit of the Delhi Police, The Hindu has learnt.

The latest of these requests, according to police sources, came on Tuesday when security personnel were asked to restrict members of the media from entering the venue of a function where Mr. Kejriwal was in attendance.

“Our control room received a call from an official close to the Chief Minister asking us to restrict members of the media from entering the venue of a function at the Urs Transit Camp near Burari, which he was to inaugurate, at 12:30 pm,” said a police official.

A photographer of The Hindu was among those disallowed entry. The said event came in the wake of a minor ruckus reported from Bawana where Mr. Kejriwal had earlier inaugurated a water treatment plant.

Police sources said similar requests to restrict the entry of general public at meetings organised by the Delhi Government had been made on behalf of Chief Minister’s office since he assumed charge.

These, however, were turned down by the police citing freedom of movement under Article 19 of the Constitution and the absence of any official order -- issued either by the Government or the police in exercise of their powers – laying down the protocol for such events.

“We suggested that the system of issuing passes be introduced; but this was turned down,” another officer said.

“While he does not want to accept a security cover like others as per protocol, we, as a law enforcement agency, cannot proclaim section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) which restricts the number of people allowed to assemble at a particular location, as per his whims,” the officer added.

A senior Government official said the security protocol – requiring arrangements to prevent mobbing of the Chief Minister by the general public – was issued to the police.

These, the official said, were in place since Mr. Kejriwal first assumed office in 2014.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2022 2:56:32 am |