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AAP MLA moves Delhi HC to constitute SIT to probe attack outside CM house

AAP MLA moves Delhi HC to constitute SIT to probe attack outside CM house
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New Delhi: AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj Thursday approached the Delhi High Court seeking constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a fair and time bound investigation into the alleged attack outside the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a protest against his remarks on 'The Kashmir Files' film.

The petition, which has also sought directions to Delhi Police and Ministry of Home Affairs for ensuring the security of the Chief Minister and his residence in future, is likely to be listed for hearing on Friday.

On Wednesday, members of the BJP youth wing had allegedly vandalised property outside the residence of AAP convenor Kejriwal here during a protest against his remarks on the film after which a criminal case was registered by the Delhi Police against unidentified persons in connection with the incident.

The case was registered under various provisions of the IPC, including Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty).

Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act has also been invoked and police was trying to make arrests.

Bhardwaj, in his petition through advocate Bharat Gupta, alleged that the attack and vandalisation of the official residence of the Chief Minister appears to have been carried out with Delhi Police's tacit complicity.

On March 30, 2022, several BJP goons, in the garb of a protest, launched an attack on the official residence of the Delhi CM. Videos and photographs show that these goons casually walked through the security cordon (maintained by Delhi Police), kicked and broke the boom barrier, broke the CCTVs cameras with lathis, threw paint on the gate of the residence and almost climbed over the gate, while Delhi Police personnel simply looked on, doing little to stop the protestors, the plea alleged.

The MLA said while he strongly supports the right to protest peacefully, even if such protest is against the Delhi Government, violence cannot and ought not to be permitted and condoned.

In this case, the violence was especially egregious as it was directed towards the Delhi CM and his family. It was meant to subdue, by the use of force, the highest elected official in NCT of Delhi and therefore the elected Government of Delhi. This was a direct attack on democracy, the plea said.

It added that those who were charged with protection of the Delhi CM, that is, Delhi Police, completely abdicated their duty, without any regard for the fact that they were protecting an elected constitutional functionary and the fact that he was given Z+ security by Delhi Police itself.

It said the police's inaction was in blatant violation of the high court's August 22, 2017 wherein the Delhi Police was directed to ensure that no unnecessary protest takes place on the road in front of the Delhi CM's house as it is a residential area.

In light of this, the petitioner is constrained to directly approach this court seeking (a) constitution of an SIT headed by a retired Judge of this court to undertake an independent, fair and time bound criminal investigation into the attack, including the role of Delhi Police officers who were responsible for maintaining the security cordon outside the Delhi CM's residence; (b) directions for appropriate prosecution/action against the identified accused persons/culprits; and (c) direction to the respondents to ensure appropriate security of the Chief Minister of Delhi's person and his residence in future, it said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party, alleging it was a ''conspiracy to kill" Kejriwal as the saffron party was unable to defeat the Aam Aadmi Party in elections. The BJP had accused AAP of scripting a drama and playing the ''victim card'' after the ''public anger'' against Kejriwal's remarks "mocking" displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

The protestors, led by BJP Yuva Morcha's national president and MP Tejasvi Surya, were holding a demonstration against Kejriwal's remarks on the recently released controversial movie 'The Kashmir Files', which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley after the outbreak of militancy.

The Chief Minister's residence is located at 6, Flag Staff Road. The protest started around 11.30 am on March 30. The Delhi Police said proper arrangements were put in place but some 15-20 protestors managed to reach the Flag Staff road and were immediately removed.

Some of the protesters, at around 1 PM, breached two barricades and reached outside CM House where they created a ruckus and shouted slogans, the police had said.

"They were carrying a small box of paint from which they threw paint outside the door. In the melee, a boom barrier arm was also found vandalised as also a CCTV camera. A police team immediately removed them from the spot and detained around 70 persons," it had said.

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