Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Ashutosh and Shazia Ilmi were on Thursday questioned by the police and named in an FIR for allegedly instigating violence outside the BJP headquarters.
AAP’s protest in the heart of the city on Wednesday against Arvind Kejriwal’s brief detention in BJP-ruled Gujarat had turned violent with supporters of both parties pelting each other with stones.
Later, clashes had erupted in Lucknow while a mob had attacked Kejriwal’s convoy in Gujarat’s Kutch region. A case was registered at Parliament Street police station at night and 14 AAP members arrested. They were released on bail on Thursday.
Kejriwal, supporters detained in Gujarat ahead of rally
In more trouble for the party, the Election Commission (EC) said Kejriwal had violated the model code of conduct by not seeking prior police permission for his road show in Gujarat while Delhi’s chief electoral officer Vijay Dev served a code violation notice to AAP for its protest outside the BJP HQ.
Ilmi was picked up by a team of police women from her GK home and brought to Parliament Street station while journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh was picked up from AAP’s Model Town office and taken to Mandir Marg station.
Read: Cong welcomes Kejriwal's visit to Guj, hails him for 'exposing' Modi's development 'myth'
They were grilled for over an hour and allowed to go after their statements were recorded in the presence of a judge. They face charges of rioting, causing damage to public property and preventing government officials from discharging their duties — all non-bailable offences.
Ilmi claimed BJP workers threw the first stone and “my party never indulged in violence”.
Kejriwal in Gujarat to verify Modi's development claims
However, a BJP delegation demanded that the EC de-recognise AAP and file criminal cases against its leaders. “Hundreds of AAP workers assembled under the leadership of Rajmohan Gandhi, Ashutosh, Shazia Ilmi and Satender Jain came with lathis and rods and indulged in violence for three hours, injuring many BJP workers,” its memorandum to chief election commissioner VS Sampath read. The party also demanded a probe into AAP’s funding.
Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung, currently looking after the administration of Delhi, met Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the two are understood to have discussed the clash.
Kejriwal slams Modi, urges AAP workers to maintain peace
In Gujarat, police lodged an FIR against 40-50 unidentified persons for smashing the windscreen of Kejriwal’s car. There were reports of minor skirmishes between AAP and BJP supporters in Gandhidham in Kutch on Thursday too. AAP leader Manish Sisodia claimed his car was attacked in Sabarkantha district on Thursday but the region’s SP, Chirag Koriadia, denied this.
In Lucknow, AAP received the support of several activists and political outfits.
Kejriwal apologises for clashes between AAP, BJP
“In yesterday’s incident (in the state), only BJP workers were wielding batons. AAP workers were unarmed and had no intention of resorting to any kind of violence,” said a joint statement issued by the Socialist Party (India) and Lok Rajniti Manch in Lucknow.
Inputs from HTC, Lucknow and Ahmedabad; PTI