South Asia

AAP government in standoff with Delhi police

New chief minister says police force "highly compromised" after officers defied instructions of two ministers.

Last updated: 17 Jan 2014 10:08
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AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been incensed by the police defiance [File: EPA]

A blazing row has broken out between the newly-elected Aam Aadmi (Common Man's) Party-led government and the Delhi state police over carrying out orders from ministers.

The AAP’s law minister Somnath Bharti on Wednesday night ordered the police to raid a building suspecting it to be a safe house for prostitutes and drug trafficking. The building is inhabited by foreigners, mostly from the African continent.

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Police officers on the scene refused to conduct the raid on the grounds that they did not have a legal warrant empowering them to do so.

An angry Bharti yelled at the police, but to no avail. They stood their ground.

On Thursday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference backed Bharti and demanded that three police officers be suspended. He also charged the Delhi police as being "highly compromised".

Kejriwal accused the police of not acting in another instance too, despite being ordered by minister Rakhi Birla; this one where a woman had been set on fire allegedly by her in-laws.

Their colleague Manish Sisodia was quoted as saying, "If cops don’t act, we’ll fix them."

Among the three officers targeted by Kejriwal, one was in charge of the area where a Danish woman was gang-raped earlier this week.

The Delhi police top brass on Friday refused to suspend the police officers involved in the three incidents, further inflaming the differences with the government.

Peculiar situation

Delhi is not a full-fledged state because of its peculiar situation of also hosting the federal government. As a result, the Delhi police are under the control of the federal government.

Reacting to the refusal of the police to suspend its officers, Kejriwal after a meeting with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has scheduled a meeting with the federal home minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

The AAP government has gone on an overdrive against suspected criminal activities with Kejriwal telling reporters that drugs and prostitution rings led to instances of rape.

The government, less than month since it took over, was particularly stung after widespread criticism in the aftermath of the gang-rape of the Danish woman.

The media taunted Kejriwal and his colleagues saying they had promised that not a single rape would occur once they came to power.

The AAP came to power on an anti-corruption platform, stunning major parties the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Since taking over government, the AAP has attempted to walk its talk by paring down security to ministers and officials, doing away with the red beacon on official cars, cutting power tariff and providing 666 litres of free water to all households in Delhi.


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