Minutes after being lambasted by former IPS officer Kiran Bedi for being mere puppets in the hands of corrupt politicians, the Delhi Police cited several 'lawful' provisions behind the 'stifling' restrictions imposed on Team Anna.
Bedi, who happens to be one of the most venerated individuals to have ever been at the helm of its affairs not too long ago, said, "The Delhi Police (had) been politicised. These (restrictions) are not the work of a thinking police force."
Citing a recent Delhi high court order - passed in view of stampedes occurring at mass public gatherings, letters of complaints received from several quarters and the ethical-legal implications of abetting 'a gradual, daylight suicide' - the Delhi Police try to justify what triggered their embattled response.
"The restriction on the number of participants is based on our assessment of the venue's capacity; it isn't an off-the-cuff figure. There are several court judgements which outright reject allowing public parks to be used for mass gatherings. Besides, we have received several complaints from residents and businesses operating in and around the adjacent area," said Dharmendra Kumar, special commissioner of police (law and order).
Among the complainants, sources claimed, are authorities at the adjacent Maulana Azad Medical College and even the CPWD.
While the former cited the expected breach of peace to hamper studies, the latter objected to the police setting an unwelcome precedent despite consecutive high court and SC orders disallowing even community functions in city parks.
"The residents apprised us of the discomfort that they have to contend with during IPL and other cricket matches at the adjacent Kotla grounds and requested us to ensure that the venue be allowed to be used for as less time as possible," special CP Kumar said.
Sources also questioned assenting to a fast-unto-death in a country where the apex court is still mulling the possibility of allowing euthanasia.