The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday alleged that the Delhi Police has put Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest after he met protesting farmers at the Singhu border, a claim denied by the city police.
Kejriwal had visited the Singhu border on Monday and reviewed facilities for farmers protesting against the Centre's new agri-marketing laws.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also said that he was not allowed to enter inside Kejriwal's residence. The AAP leader later addressed a press conference outside the CM's residence.
Addressing a press conference earlier, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj claimed the city police has put Kejriwal under house arrest.
"On the direction of the ministry of home affairs, the Delhi Police has put Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest ever since he visited farmers at Singhu border. No one has been permitted to leave or enter his residence and he has not been allowed to meet anyone.
“When our MLAs went to meet the chief minister, they were beaten and thrown on the streets. The party volunteers were also not allowed to meet,” he alleged.
Refuting the charge, Satish Golcha, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) North Zone said the situation in the national capital is peaceful.
"It is claimed in certain sections on social media that there have been restrictions on the movement of the chief minister of Delhi. I would like to clarify in this regard that these claims are totally baseless. There are absolutely no restrictions. The chief minister is doing his normal engagements and there is normal movement. Further he is going out of his residence for his engagements," he told reporters.
Claims of CM Kejriwal's house arrest baseless: Delhi Police
Anto Alphonse, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) also tweeted a photograph of the entrance of Kejriwal's residence and denied the allegations.
"This claim of CM Delhi being put on house arrest is incorrect. He exercises his right to free movement within the law of the land. A picture of the house entrance says it all," the DCP tweeted.
Addressing a press conference outside Kejriwal's residence, Sisodia claimed that he and several party MLAs were not allowed to meet the CM.
"Still the police is falsely saying that there is no house arrest. They are doing this because Kejriwal denied permission to convert Delhi's stadiums into temporary prisons for the protesting farmers. They are afraid of Kejriwal and fear that he will come out to support the bandh," he said.
Bhardwaj said that AAP members will ensure that Kejriwal is "released".
"We were told that there are direct orders from the MHA to keep Kejriwal under house arrest till the farmers protest is going on. Today, all our party members have assembled here and we will go towards Kejriwal's residence. If police stop us, we will not misbehave but will go to the residence and ensure that Kejriwal is released," he said.
AAP leaders Durgesh Pathak, Dilip Pandey and Somnath Bharti also protested outside Kejriwal's residence. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann claimed he was stopped by the police from entering the residence.
"We had heard of emergency, but today we experienced it. I am not being allowed to go in and meet the CM. I am the elected representative and I am not being allowed. The BJP government is rattled and is trying to stop the Delhi CM from showing his support to the protesting farmers," Mann claimed.
Opposition BJP and Congress called the so-called house arrest of Kejriwal a "political gimmick".
Delhi BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar said the AAP is indulging in politics of lies and betrayal.
"AAP is constantly doing politics of lies and betrayal. Yesterday, CM Kejriwal went to Singhu border and he also went to a party in the evening. This is the video. They are calling resting at home as house arrest," he tweeted and posted a purported video of Kejriwal's residence.
Delhi Congress president Anil Chaudhary said, "It is a gimmick. How can he go out in support of Bharat Bandh when his own government has notified the new farm law? He must be waiting for Amit Shah's permission before leaving his residence."
AAP leaders, however, reiterated that the Centre has put Kejriwal under house arrest to ensure that he does not express his support to the protesting farmers.
"Arvind Kejriwal was put under house arrest ever since he returned from the Singhu border. The government does not want Kejriwal to stand with farmers and that is why they took this step," AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh charged.
"By putting Kejriwal under house arrest, the Centre wants to curb all the voices that have come out in support of farmers," Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.
The AAP members also raised slogans of ‘Police Jhooth Bolna Band Karo’ and ‘Arvind ji Ko Riha Karo’ outside Kejriwal's residence.
The party has extended its support to the Bharat Bandh called by farmer organisations.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi against the new farm laws.
The Centre's offer to amend the contentious laws failed to cut ice with farmer groups during the fifth round of talks on Saturday.