An attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) headquarters in Ghaziabad to protest against party leader Prashant Bhushan’s comments on a referendum in Kashmir brought to the spotlight the possible ramifications of AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s insistence on doing away with security.
On Wednesday morning, around 30 Hindu Raksha Dal members attacked the AAP office in Kaushambi. The office is located barely a kilometer from Kejriwal’s residence. Thirteen people, including Bhupender Tomar, alias Pinki Chowdhary, coordinator of the Hindu Raksha Dal’s Ghaziabad wing, were arrested for the attack.
Bhushan blamed the attack on the BJP and Sangh’s “extreme frustration” at the “phenomenal rise of AAP… They fear that it will damage their prospect in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”
The attack prompted a hurried PIL in the Delhi High Court to direct Kejriwal not refuse security. It also moved the UP government to consider extending Z category security to the Delhi CM out of concern that UP would be blamed if anything happened to him. In Lucknow, a home department officer said a meeting would be held on Thursday to review the Delhi CM’s security. The UP government has decided to provide him with Z category security, the officer said, adding that the UP government will ensure that cops are deployed around Kejriwal’s residence in Kaushambi even if he refused security.
AAP volunteer V K Mittal, who was present in the office during the attack, told HT that around 30 Hindu Raksha Dal activists armed with sticks, stones and brandishing flags arrived at the office in three cars at about 11 am and started shouting slogans against Kejriwal and Bhushan. AAP workers closed the gates of the compound and requested the protestors to go but they started pelting stones and smashed window panes and broke flower pots.
When AAP volunteers dialled the emergency number 100, they reached the Delhi Police that has no jurisdiction in Kaushambi. The Delhi Police transferred the call to the Ghaziabad police, which reached the spot in 30 minutes and brought the situation under control. “We arrested 13 people including Bhupender Tomar within 3 hours of the attack. All the accused have been sent to jail and have been booked under various sections of IPC including Section 354 for misbehaving with women,” said Dharmendra Singh, SSP, Ghaziabad. He added that the police would look at CCTV footage to identify the other attackers.
Tomar told reporters after his arrest that Bhushan’s comments on Kashmir hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community. Recently, Bhushan said that a referendum in Kashmir must determine whether the Army should be deployed to handle internal security in the state. “Kashmir is an inseparable part of India… We are against Prashant Bhushan’s remarks on Kashmir,” Tomar said.
“Will killing Prashant Bhushan help solve the Kashmir problem? He has already clarified his comment and we have also said Kashmir is an integral part of India,” Kejriwal said. “If this group has any differences, why don’t they come and meet. I am ready to meet them anywhere any time,” he added.