AAP leader Ashutosh, spokesperson Dilip Pandey and over 10 volunteers injured.
New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday alleged that party leaders and volunteers were injured in an “unprovoked” baton charge by the police when they were protesting at Patel Chowk over the ongoing sealing drive by civic bodies.
AAP leader Ashutosh, spokesperson Dilip Pandey and over ten volunteers were injured when they tried to march towards the Parliament, the party claimed.
“The baton-charge was totally unprovoked. Many of our volunteers were injured,” Ashutosh said.
A senior police officer said AAP did not have the permission to protest, especially at a time when prohibitory orders are in place in view of the Parliament session. He refuted the charge that police used force against the protesting AAP leaders and volunteers, who were later detained.
However, the Delhi police rejected the charge. “No lathi charge was done. minimal force was used against them, said Delhi police spokesperson Madhur Verma.
Municipal corporations in Delhi have undertaken the sealing drive initiated by a Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee. Commercial premises have been sealed for failing to deposit conversion charges according to provisions in the Master Plan 2021.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi unit convener, Gopal Rai, said the party had demanded that the conversion charges be waived, but the BJP-ruled MCDs had turned it down.
“The AAP tried to gherao the Parliament. But the way the police baton-charged, a number of people were injured and many taken into police custody. BJP is using force to crush protests,” Mr Rai alleged.
In the Parliament, AAP boycotted the President’s address over the sealing drive, disqualification of 20 of its MLAs, and the Centre’s decision to relax the FDI norms. Nagendar Sharma, the media advisor to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, said that “Delhi police personnel misbehaved” with AAP leaders Richa Pandey and Ashutosh, “who were leading a peaceful protest against BJP-sponsored sealing in different Delhi markets.”
“Delhi police resorts to unprovoked lathi-charge on elected MLAs and councillors protesting peacefully against BJP’s sealing drive. Women manhandled,” Mr Sharma tweeted.
The sealing drive is being carried out by a Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes. The drive is being implemented by the three BJP-led municipal corporations.
MLA and AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said that Ashutosh was “mercilessly beaten up” by the police. He also said that BJP was responsible for the sealing drive going on in the city for the past two months.
Some of the placards, held by the party workers during the march, read: “This is not sealing, this is killing,” and “BJP came, brought back sealing.”