Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs allegedly assaulted Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday night.
Prakash on Tuesday met Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and registered a complaint against the two AAP MLAs (India TV reports that there were 3 MLAs involved in the assault) for allegedly assaulting him. While CNN-News18 says that Prakash named Ajay Dutt and Prakash Jharwal as the two MLAs who attacked him, most other media reports say that Amanatullah Khan, a close Kejriwal aide, was one of the MLAs who attacked the bureaucrat.
MSM reports say the top Delhi bureaucrat was manhandled during a meeting on the ‘door-to-door delivery of commodities under the Public Distribution System (PDS)’ held at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on Monday night. But the Chief Secretary has said in his complaint that he was called to discuss release of certain TV advertisements related to completion of 3 years of AAP Government which were held up due to Supreme Court guidelines.
Kejriwal has denied the allegations and said the incident never took place. He claimed that the Secretary refused to answer questions saying that he was answerable only to the LG and not to MLAs and CM, and that the Secretary used bad language against some MLAs. AAP leader Atishi Marlena claimed that Secretary Anshu Prakash was levelling ‘wild allegations’ at BJP’s behest.
Both Congress and BJP have condemned the incident and said that such violence against a senior bureaucrat is absolutely unacceptable in a democracy.
Mayank Gandhi, former AAP leader, was quoted as saying it’s a “natural progression” of the situation. “Considering the confrontational attitude taken up by both sides and the vicious atmosphere that this created, this was a natural consequence,” he said. “However, this is a shocking incident and there needs to be a quick investigation and swift action taken against those found guilty,” he added.
India TV has reported that IAS officers in Delhi have gone on strike, demanding arrest of 3 AAP MLAs who assaulted Delhi Chief Secretary.
This is not the first instance of an AAP MLA or their family being charged with assault –
- AAP MLA Naresh Balyan was arrested on assault charges lodged by former AAP volunteer and president of Mohan Garden RWA (Residents Welfare Association) Henry George.
- Ex-Minister and estranged AAP leader Kapil Mishra, who had a public falling out with Kerjiwal after accusing him & his family members of corruption, was assaulted by 5-7 AAP MLAs in the Delhi Assembly last year. 3 MLAs named by Mishra for that assault were Amanatullah Khan, Jarnail Singh, Madanlal.
- AAP MLA Sahi Ram Pahalwan was booked for assaulting a youth who called him to question the MLA’s objection to construction of a road outside the vicitm’s house.
- AAP MLA Pramila Tokas’ husband was arrested for assaulting a Government employee.
- AAP MLA Somnath Bharti was arrested for assaulting AIIMS Security Guards.
- AAP MLA Mahendra Yadav was arrested for obstructing a public servant & destroying public property.
- AAP MLA Manoj Kumar was charged with assaulting a youth.
Apart from this, there have been several allegations of sexual exploitation & sexual abuse levelled against AAP MLAs, leaders and workers by their own volunteers and ex-AAP members.
Delhi Government’s 24×7 Confrontation with LG & Centre – the AAP legacy
Delhi’s legislative assembly was re-established in 1993, after the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 came into force, and the Union Territory of Delhi came to be formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi.
However, unlike other states, power is shared in Delhi given its unique position as the national capital. Delhi’s executive is led by the LG ( Lieutenant Governor) who is appointed by the President of Bharat. Hence a close working relationship is needed between the LG and Delhi CM for the city to function effectively.
LG-CM relations were normal, apart from the odd tussle, for the 4 Governments that Delhi has seen in the 1993 – 2014 period, before AAP came to power. But ever since Kejriwal returned for his second stint as CM in Feb 2015, he has levelled allegations of bias and obstruction against the LG – first against LG Najeeb Jung who had been appointed during UPA-2, and then against LG Anil Baijal appointed by NDA-2.
Differences between bureaucracy and political class are not uncommon, and there is a definite case for reforming Bharat’s lumbering bureaucracy. However, the conspiratorial & histrionic style adopted by AAP has led to a governance breakdown & Delhi’s citizens are suffering as a result.
Amanatullah Khan is arguably the most controversial MLA in the AAP stable, no mean achievement by itself. Apart from the two assault charges against him mentioned above, he has also been arrested for sexually harassing & exploiting by his own sister-in-law. In July 2016, he was arrested for allegedly threatening a woman with dire consequences. He has also faced corruption allegations during his stint as Chairman of Delhi Waqf Board.
In a public address on 16 Feb 2016, Khan had called the Modi government ‘Haraamkhor’ (bastard) for arresting a Muslim cleric Maulana Syed Anzar Shah Qasmi on terror incitement charges without any “proper proof”.
Khan can be heard saying, “If you people decide to gherao Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s house…Delhi has a huge Muslim population. If you start doing it, then I can assure you that the Modi government does not have that much courage to even touch your children.”
In 2014, Amanatullah, then an AAP volunteer, was arrested after he confessed to putting up provocative posters in Muslim areas of Delhi inciting communal sentiments against 3 Muslim Congress MLAs who were allegedly ready to help the BJP form a Government after the AAP-Congress coalition Government formed in Dec 2013 had collapsed.
Khan, who is MLA from Okhla, has also claimed that the 2008 Batla House Encounter (Batla House is located in Okhla) in which 2 IM terrorists and 1 Delhi Police Inspector were killed was ‘fake’.
20 Feb 2018, 8 PM: Article has been updated with details provided by Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in his complaint to police
Delhi: Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash's complaint letter to Police over yesterday's incident pic.twitter.com/zvdsNGatIN
— ANI (@ANI) February 20, 2018
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