Delhi water crisis: Atishi’s fast enters day two; BJP holds counter-protest against govt.

Will sit on satyagraha until Haryana govt. provides water to city’s people, says Water Minister a day after launching an indefinite hunger strike

Updated - June 23, 2024 07:53 am IST

Published - June 23, 2024 01:37 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Atishi greeting her supporters on Saturday.

Atishi greeting her supporters on Saturday. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Water Minister and senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi’s hunger strike seeking Delhi’s “rightful” share of water from Haryana entered the second day on Saturday. The Minister has accused the neighbouring BJP-ruled State government of curbing the water supply to the Capital by over 100 million gallons per day (MGD), depriving 28 lakh people of their daily share of water.

“I will sit on the satyagraha until the Haryana government provides water to the people of Delhi. This hunger strike will continue till 28 lakh people of Delhi get water from Haryana,” the AAP leader said from the protest site in south-east Delhi’s Bhogal.

The BJP held a counter-protest in Okhla, with the party’s former Lok Sabha member from Delhi Ramesh Bidhuri blaming the AAP government for the water crisis.

Water cannons used

The Delhi police used water cannons to disperse the BJP protesters after they refused to move.

Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said Ms. Atishi’s protest was an “insult to the satyagraha movement” and accused the Minister of staging a “five-star satyagraha”, claiming that she has been sitting on the stage at the protest site for only four hours and spending the remaining time “in an air-conditioned room behind the stage”.

He added, “If Atishi genuinely believes there is a water shortage in Delhi and Haryana is not providing additional water, she should request water from her party’s government in Punjab.”

In a video message released on Saturday, Ms. Atishi said she is protesting to secure the basic rights of the city’s people.

“Haryana is providing 100 MGD less water every day, due to which more than 28 lakh Delhiites are not getting water. I have tried every possible way to solve the issue via dialogue. However, I was left with no choice but to go on a hunger strike,” the Minister said.

Addressing people gathered at the protest site, AAP’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said the Kejriwal government has done a lot on the issue of water over the past 10 years.

“On the one side, there are people from the BJP who break water pipelines, water board offices, and indulge in hooliganism. On the other, there is the Kejriwal government, which has provided water to every household in Delhi and laid 11,000 km of new pipeline after it came to power,” said Mr. Singh.

The two parties also engaged in a war of words after a group of protesters raised slogans and waved placards at the venue of Ms. Atishi’s indefinite hunger strike. AAP claimed the protesters had been sent by the BJP to disrupt the Water Minister’s protest.

Protesters shouting slogans at the venue of the AAP leader’s indefinite hunger strike in south-east Delhi’s Bhogal. 

Protesters shouting slogans at the venue of the AAP leader’s indefinite hunger strike in south-east Delhi’s Bhogal.  | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

“Today, some people came to my hunger strike site to create a ruckus and attack me. But I want to tell the BJP that I am following the path of satyagraha taught by Gandhiji. I’m not afraid of such acts,” Ms. Atishi said.

The BJP claimed the protesters were former bus marshals who had been “sacked by the Delhi government”.

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