The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)accused the Centre of systematic persecution and vendetta after police arrested two of its legislators on Sunday, one charged with outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation, and the other with desecration of the Quran.
The party’s Okhla lawmaker, Amantullah Khan , was taken into custody on the basis of a woman’s complaint that she was abused and molested by a staff member at Khan’s home on July 18. The complainant, a social activist, said she went there to complain about frequent power cuts in her neighbourhood, Jasola in southern Delhi.
She also accused the MLA of trying to run her over with a car after she visited his Batla House home in Jamia Nagar.
Khan is the 12th AAP lawmaker to face an FIR, and the 11th to be arrested.
The AAP legislator for Mehrauli, Naresh Yadav, was arrested for his suspected role in the alleged desecration of the Quran at Malerkotla in Punjab’s Sangrur district on June 24. A Punjab Police team picked him up from his Delhi home.
AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led the party’s volley of attack against the twin arrests. “Just in -Modi ji arrests one more AAP MLA. Anandiben sends Dalits and Patidars to jail in fake cases in Gujarat, Modi ji sends Delhiites to jail in fake cases. Delhi and Gujarat will fight together,” he tweeted, holding Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for the police action.
Khan, who was sent to police remand for a day, has also been accused of intimidating the complaint to withdraw her case. “The woman said she was getting threat calls and messages, and was being stalked by Khan’s men. She said Khan and his men tried to run her over near Ashoka Park, New Friends Colony, and a bike tried to hit her on July 22 when she was on her way to court to record her statement,” deputy commissioner of police (southeast) MS Randhawa said.
“She felt unsafe and even threatened to commit suicide,” the officer said.
On Saturday, the AAP released a sting video, which shows the woman asking the SHO of Jamia Nagar police station to trump up the charges against Khan.
“Video released yesterday proved that complainant was taught by Delhi Police, conspiracy stands exposed. Thanks to Modi Ji,” tweeted AAP’s Delhi unit convener Dilip Pandey.
The party’s Mehrauli MLA, Yadav, has been accused of having a role in trying to foment communal tension during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan after miscreants threw torn pages from the Quran into a drain in Malerkotla.
The main accused, Vijay Kumar of Jind in Haryana, claimed he did it at the behest of Yadav, who was his “friend”.
For his part, Yadav alleged that the “restless” ruling alliance of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJPin Punjab had hatched a conspiracy against him.
“I have nothing to hide. I have been framed by Punjab Police at the behest of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. I have full faith in the judiciary and will come clean,” he said. He was arrested a day after a court in Malerkotla issued a warrant against him.
“As Yadav didn’t cooperate with the investigating team twice, we produced evidence against him in court to ask for his interrogation in custody,” Sangrur senior superintendent of police Prithpal Singh Thind said.
Delhi chief minister Kejriwal alleged the Malerkotla controversy is clear proof that some forces were working to divide the country on communal lines ahead of next year’s state elections. AAP, which is being seen as a strong contender in the 2017 polls in Punjab, is hoping to expand its base beyond Delhi where it received a decisive mandate last year.
The party has attracted bad publicity because of some of its members, though. Party spokesperson Ashish Khetan landed in trouble in Punjab recently when he compared the AAP manifesto to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism.
Timeline of Malerkotla sacrilege case
Tension grips Malerkotla town in Punjab after incident of Quran sacrilege; mob tries to set ablaze residence of Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Farzana Nissara Khatoon
Police arrest three people, including main accused Vijay Kumar of Delhi from Patiala. The accused confess to their role in crime
Kumar says he tore pages of the Quran at the behest of Mehrauli AAP MLA Naresh Yadav. Yadav is summoned for questioning by police
Yadav grilled by Punjab police
Yadav accuses police of harassment; police claim accused is non-cooperative
Kumar records his statement under Section 164 of the CrPC
Police procure an arrest warrant and dispatch a team to nab Yadav
Yadav is arrested by Punjab police