The Delhi Police was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea despite pulling off thousands of personnel from routine duty and, consequently, leaving at least a dozen police stations bereft of manpower for the better part of Monday.
Prepared to sanitise the venue of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s snap protests within 45 minutes if matters went ‘out of hand’ near Rail Bhavan, the police kept waiting for a nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to act till Monday evening — but all that came their way were instructions to ‘carry on’.
This, police officers said, had to be done not only to accommodate a gradually swelling number of the CM’s supporters but also to manage the huge crowd of media persons whose presence the CM had allegedly insisted upon.
“Earlier, they wanted to protest at a location near Parliament,” an officer said. “When we agreed, Aam Aadmi Party members demanded that they be allowed to install and use loudspeakers as well as television OB vans. We disagreed,” the officer added.
When the police rejected their request, the AAP is understood to have ‘acquiesced’ to being stopped a little distance from Parliament where personnel from the entire Connaught Place sub-division had to be deployed leaving important police stations such as Parliament Street and Connaught Place ‘empty’.
Nearly 4,000 personnel from two different districts had to be deployed.