Delhi's new chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and several of his ministers are staging an unprecedented sit-demonstration, demanding the suspension of three police officers.
The chief minister on Monday also called on residents of Delhi to join the protests that he said would continue for the next 10 days.
Earlier, the police stopped Kejriwal's car from proceeding towards the federal Home Minister's office to stage the sit-in demonstration. It prompted the chief minister to stage his protest in front of the Rail Ministry office instead.
The protest on Monday is being described by the Indian media as "unconventional". Kejriwal has called it a “historic protest”.
The face-off between the Delhi government and the police began when the ministers demanded the federal Home Minister to suspend three police officials over “dereliction of duty” over a series of incidents involving across Delhi.
The three cases included a woman who was harmed by her family over money, the gang rape of a Danish tourist and the law minister’s raid on a drug and prostitution racket.
Kejriwal has accused the Delhi police as a “highly compromised force” with “no accountability”.
Kejriwal has also demanded that the police be brought under the control of the Delhi government. The force currently reports to the federal Home Ministry, as Delhi enjoys the unique status of being both the nation's capital and a state-city.
The Delhi Police in a preventive action had imposed a ban outlawing any assemblage of people outside the high security zone around India’s Parliament on Monday.
The prohibitory orders mean that the chief minister’s protest led by his cabinet ministers would be deemed illegal and the ministers could face arrest.
Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi told reporters that “We’re a law enforcement agency. Whatever has to be done according to law will be done” while responding to reporters’ questions if they would go ahead and arrest an elected minister of the ruling government.
Opposition parties have slammed the Kejriwal state government over the protests.
“This is unruly political leadership ushering in chaos not order, activism over governance”, said Kiran Bedi, retired police officer and former colleague of Kejriwal during his anti-graft activism days.