Protesters barge into Sisodia’s house, act caught on camera
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday alleged that “BJP goons” illegally entered deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s official residence at Mathura Road “to attack his family members” while he was not there, and blamed the police for allowing the breach of security.
The Bharatiya Janata Party denied the charge, saying its workers were peacefully protesting against alleged comments by an AAP leader the previous day against municipal corporation mayors.
CCTV footage from a camera installed near the entry gate to Sisodia’s residence showed a group of people first rushing towards it and then aggressively pushing their way through into the house. The video, recorded around noon on Thursday, also showed police personnel apparently unable to control the mob and running after them into the premises.
Delhi Police registered an FIR under sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 427( Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 447 (Punishment for criminal trespass), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, and section 3 of Defacement of Public Property Act. Six people have been detained, police said.
The incident comes two days after the AAP alleged that the chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was put under a virtual house arrest, allegedly at the behest of the Union government to keep him from supporting the ongoing farmers’ agitation — a contention the police denied. The mayors of the BJP-ruled municipalities have been on a sit-in protest outside the CM’s residence since Monday.
Hours after the security breach, Sisodia tweeted: “Today, BJP’s goons broke the open the doors of my house and barged in and tried to attack my family. Amit Shahji, since you have lost in Delhi’s politics, will you confront us like this?”
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, senior AAP leader and chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj and MLA Atishi also blamed the Union home ministry. The home ministry did not respond to a query seeking comment.
During the press conference, the AAP leaders showed the CCTV video. “The most surprising part is that the police deployed outside for safety purposes were already aware of the fact that BJP workers will be attacking. The barricades were removed, these attackers were given way, and allowed to enter the residential premises. This incident today happened under the superintendence of Delhi Police,” Bhardwaj alleged.
Later, the Delhi Police tweeted a photograph of the main gate of Sisodia’s residence and said that “...allegations of the gate being damaged/broken are incorrect”.
Deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal said one Delhi BJP leader Hukum Singh had given a written application on Wednesday seeking permission to hold a protest outside Sisodia’s house on Thursday. The permission was denied, citing Covid-19 guidelines, he said.
“On Thursday, around 11.30am, nearly 150 people reached Mathura Road, where an adequate deployment of security personnel was made and iron barricades were placed to stop the crowd from proceeding towards the deputy CM’s residence. Some of them jumped the barricades and entered the deputy CM’s residence,” DCP Singhal said.
Singhal that C Arvind, secretary to the deputy CM, lodged a police complaint. “Accordingly, a case under appropriate sections of law has been registered at the Tilak Marg police station. The investigation is on,” he said.
Atishi, however, alleged that if the police wanted, the mob could have been stopped. “But Delhi Police personnel chose to stand on the sidelines. These protesters were stopped only by the officers at the deputy CM’s camp office, and the civil defence staff present there. The police did nothing,” she said.
“First they put Delhi’s CM under house arrest and then an attack is planned on the deputy CM’s family. The people of Delhi are well aware of the cheap tactics that the BJP used in the 2020 elections, from abuses to attacks. It is evident from today’s incident that all the earlier ones too would have been orchestrated. In the coming MCD elections, I am sure that the Delhiites will teach BJP ministers a tough lesson as they did in the 2020 [assembly] elections,” she added.
When contacted, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta confirmed there was a protest outside Sisodia’s house.
“Our workers went to deputy CM’s house to protest against the threats made by AAP leader Durgesh Pathak to kill BJP leaders who are protesting outside the CM’s residence. Pathak said this at Sisodia’s presence and the latter didn’t even object to it,” Gupta said.
Delhi BJP general secretary Harsh Malhotra, however, said that the video circulated by the AAP was from July 12, 2020.
“The AAP made a video of July 12, 2020 of Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s residence viral, accusing karyakartas (workers) of forcibly entering Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s residence, whereas during the demonstration today, not a single BJP worker entered the Deputy CM’s residence,” said Malhotra.
The AAP rejected the allegation, and Delhi Police confirmed the incident took place on Thursday.
Late on Thursday, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) headed by Swati Maliwal issued a notice to Delhi Police to explain the reason for the lapse in security arrangements at the deputy CM’s residence, and sought a report by December 14.