by Saima Bhat
SRINAGAR: In an interesting development, Delhi on Tuesday looked like Kashmir. The spin in the situation was reported when the ruling party of the national capital alleged that chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been put under house arrest. The action, Aam Aadmi Party claimed was because Kejriwal had gone to visit farmers at the Singhu border on Monday. However, the police denied all such allegations.
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) December 8, 2020
Otherwise known to happen in Kashmir, the situation in Delhi shared similarity and went viral on social media with hashtag #BJPHouseArrestsKejriwal. Drawing comparisons, the netizens pointed out how Delhi is going the “Kashmir way” as authorities put the serving chief minister under ‘house arrest” and denied the same.
The first to break the news was the Twitter handle of AAP, “BJP’s Delhi police has put Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal under house arrest ever since he visited farmers at Singhu border yesterday. No one has been permitted to leave or enter his residence.”
The police rejected the claim. “This claim of CM Delhi being put on house arrest is incorrect. He exercises his right to free movement within the law of the land. A picture of the house entrance says it all,” tweeted DCP north Delhi.
मुख्यमंत्री केजरीवाल जी ने किसानों को स्टेडियम में जेल करने से मना कर दिया, इसलिए आज केंद्र सरकार ने मुख्यमंत्री के घर को जेल बना दिया : उपमुख्यमंत्री @msisodia #BJPHouseArrestsKejriwalpic.twitter.com/fSWzEsa0bV
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) December 8, 2020
Sharing a picture from the outside residence of Kejriwal, where the huge deployment of police is seen, the party reacted, “No! This is not LOC. This is CM’s residence. Does the Chief Minister OF India’s capital deserve this treatment? His crime? He supported India’s #farmers.”
Reacting to the tweet of AAP, former executive editor of NDTV, Nidhi Razdan said ‘The Kashmir model, which the Delhi CM was only too happy to support then, now comes to Delhi.”
Kejriwal after the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status said his party supports the central government’s move. “We support the government on its decision on J&K. We hope this will bring peace and development in the state,” Kejriwal tweeted soon after the resolution was moved.
The former chief minister of J&K who is also a former PSA political detainee reacted to the reports, comparing the situation without actually giving it a name. ‘AAP claims the CM is under house arrest. The police deny the claim. I don’t know why but I feel like I’ve seen this script play out somewhere else also.”
Raheel Khursheed termed the situation as a “reminder” to Kejriwal. “Reminder that Mr. Kejriwal supported the suspension of civil/political liberties in Kashmir post-Aug 5 2019, perhaps not realizing that he too could be at receiving end of similar measures-albeit much milder in scope & scale. At least for now.”
Earlier in the day, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that Kejriwal’s residence had been barricaded completely, with none allowed to enter or leave the premises. He also claimed that the MLAs, who had a meeting with CM on Monday, were beaten up by the cops when they went to meet him.
“On the direction of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Delhi Police has put Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest ever since he visited farmers at Singhu border. No one has been permitted to leave or enter his residence and he has not been allowed to meet anyone,” Bharadwaj said.
AAP claims the CM is under house arrest. The police denies the claim. I don’t know why but I feel like I’ve seen this script play out somewhere else also. https://t.co/WyBkQJbYCA
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 8, 2020
Addressing a press conference outside Kejriwal’s residence, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia claimed that he and several party MLAs were not allowed to meet the CM.
“Still the police is falsely saying that there is no house arrest. They are doing this because Kejriwal denied permission to convert Delhi’s stadiums into temporary prisons for the protesting farmers. They are afraid of Kejriwal and fear that he will come out to support the bandh,” he said.
On Monday, Kejriwal and his cabinet members visited the Singhu border and after he surveyed the sanitation and water availability at the site, Kejriwal said he had not come as a CM, but a sewadar.
“I am not present here as a Chief Minister, I have come here as a sewadar, I have come here to serve the farmers. The farmers put in all their hard work and efforts and grow food for us. They are in a huge problem today, and it is the responsibility of all the citizens of the country to stand with the farmers and work for their service,” he told reporters later. He reiterated that he was under immense pressure to allow nine stadiums in the national capital to be used as temporary jails for protesting farmers, but he refused.
Addressing AAP members from his residence, Kejriwal said, “I had planned that today I would go to the border not as CM but as a common man to express my solidarity with the farmers. I think they came to know about my plan and they did not let me go. I am glad Bharat Bandh was successful. I prayed for protesting farmers while sitting inside”.
Back in Srinagar, the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti as claimed by her daughter was also put under house arrest. Later Mehbooba in her tweet said “illegal detention has become GOIs favourite go-to method for muzzling any form of opposition. I’ve been detained once again because I wanted to visit Budgam where hundreds of families were evicted from their homes.”