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Capital chaos as Kejriwal and group hit the streets

Chaos gripped Delhi's roads on Sunday as more than a thousand protesters, led by Arvind Kejriwal and others, tried to break police cordons and reach PM Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Nitin Gadkari's residences. HT reports.Sunday fury | 'Battlefield' Delhivideo-icon | All parties, CMs and the PM corrupt: Kejriwal

india Updated: Aug 27, 2012 09:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Erstwhile Team Anna members march towards PM's residence,Arvind Kejriwal,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Chaos gripped Delhi's roads on Sunday as more than a thousand protesters, led by erstwhile Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal and others, tried to break police cordons and reach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Nitin Gadkari's residences.

Protesting under the banner of India Against Corruption (IAC) and against the alleged irregularities in the coal blocks allocation, the crowd tried to march to Singh's residence twice, but was detained on both occasions.

The first attempt at 6am caught the police off guard.

"Arvind Kejriwal and Gopal Rai reached near PM's residence with a few supporters while IAC member Sanjay Singh went to Nitin Gadkari's home at Teen Murti Lane. They were detained and taken to the Mandir Marg police station," said a senior police officer.

As news of the detentions spread, the protesters headed to the police station and staged a dharna. Kejriwal was released at 8am.

Arvind Kejriwal is shielded by supporters as he flees police during clashes at a protest near the Prime Minister's official residence in New Delhi. AP

"What wrong are we doing? We are just sitting quietly on the footpath. At least we should be told why we are being detained," Kejriwal said.

"When Raj Thackeray takes thousands of his supporters for a protest without permission, the police provide protection. What kind of politics is this?"

"We will gherao again. We want to send a message to the Congress and BJP," he said.

Once the protesters headed to Jantar Mantar, Kejriwal announced his intent to picket the residences of Singh, Gadkari and Gandhi.

Supporters of social activist Arvind Kejriwal are seen during a protest near Sonia Gandhi residence in New Delhi. HT/Sanjeev Verma

At 12:45pm, defying police orders, more than 1,000 supporters began marching.

They broke through five barricades in front of the Parliament Street police station and split strategically in several directions.

At 10 Janpath -Gandhi's home -the police used water cannons to disperse the aggressive crowd.

Slogans were shouted outside the homes of politicians and several name plates, including the one at former telecom minister A Raja's residence, were broken.

The situation deteriorated near the PM's house on Race Course Road, forcing the police to cane the protesters and fire several rounds of tear gas.

Police said Kejriwal, who was detained for the second time at 2pm, was released at 3.45pm.

Other IAC members were taken to the Parliament Street police station, where 500 supporters remained lodged till late evening.

Supporters of Arvind Kejriwal protest for his release outside Mandir Marg police station after he was detained. PTI

First Published: Aug 26, 2012 14:49 IST