Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal and yoga televangelist Ramdev on Sunday drew flak from protesters demanding justice for the 23-year-old gangrape survivor.
Protesters also criticised Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta, who has called a public meeting “in support of the survivor” in the Capital on Tuesday. Protesters heckled east Delhi MP and Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit when he happened to cross amid the demonstrations.
The protesters said the outrage was spontaneous, and politicians must desist from trying to derive political mileage out of the incident. While Kejriwal and his party members reached India Gate, Ramdev chose Jantar Mantar to “lend support to the agitation”.
Sameer Mirza, of Kalkaji in south Delhi, said: “Where was Team Kejriwal till now? We have been protesting for a week. This is no time for politics.”
Divya, of Mayur Vihar, called Team Kejriwal “a bunch of opportunists”. “They (the politicians) should have done what we have been forced to do. Now that there's much anger against the government, the leaders see it as an opportunity and are trying to cash in,” she said.
Anusha Rizvi, who directed the movie Peepli Live, also reached India Gate to protest but said she did not mind the presence of politicians. “If they are also on the roads, we’re okay with it,” she said.
AAP’s Manish Sisodia tried to defend his party. “It’s wrong to say we have woken up late and are trying to hijack a people's movement,” he said, adding: “We have been active all along. We’re protesting as members of the general public. We were at India Gate on Saturday. We were at the hospital. Today, we are again at India Gate. We will continue to be here to protest peacefully.”
Ramdev said at Jantar Mantar: “I had been observing the government for several days to see if they act strongly against the exploitation of women. Finally, after seeing that not enough action was being taken, I had to come from Haridwar to seek justice. Sonia Gandhi on the first day had said they would take action through a fast-track court. Nothing has happened so far.”
But protesters were not convinced. Gaurav Garg said, “Ramdev’s protest is a political show.” Another protester, Nitish Jain, said, “Ramdev’s is a political move to divert attention from the main problem. It is enforcement that needs to be improved to curb such cases.”