Former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal finally visited west Delhi’s Tihar Jail, something he had repeatedly put off during his tenure despite requests from the jail administration.
As fate would have it, Kejriwal would now be the prison’s guest for two days after he refused to furnish a cash bond of Rs. 10,000 at a city court, which gave him a choice between that and two days’ imprisonment.
Senior jail officials told HT that Kejriwal had been lodged in what they call the ‘meditation cell’ after a medical examination. The cell’s special feature is an attached, personal bathroom.
“He’s a diabetic and needs to make frequent trips to the bathroom. We are sensitive to these health needs, so we put him in the 16x10 meditation cell which is separate from other sections,” said a jail official.
Kejriwal’s health, jail authorities said, ‘prevailed’ upon them to allow him to use bedding brought by his family.
As per jail authorities, the last time the AAP leader was among them had been at the peak of the Anna Hazare movement in mid 2011. “At that time, he was put up inside a superintendent’s room with other leaders such as Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisodia and Anna Hazare,” said an official.
“When he became CM, he was by default the minister of prisons. We had written to him many times to pay a visit to the facility but he kept declining our requests,” the official added.
Meanwhile, several AAP leaders including Rakhi Birla, Yogendra Yadav and Sanjay Singh had to be herded away from outside the prison’s periphery after they led a contingent of AAP supporters to protest Kejriwal’s arrest.
“The AAP had used social media to spread the word about his arrest and invited protesters outside the Jail. Around 200 of them had complied. But we managed to disperse them and detained them at the Hari Nagar police station,” the officer added.