Freshly elected New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slept on the pavement on Monday night as part of a ten-day protest to demand police reform following a spat between his law minister and the Indian capital’s police force.
On Friday, the state’s Law Minister Somnath Bharti conducted a “vigilante-like” raid – which caused widespread outrage across India – during which four Ugandan and Nigerian women were detained on charges of prostitution and drug dealing. The Delhi police had refused to carry out the raid in the absence of a search warrant . The accusations were proved baseless later through forensic tests, Indian newspaper the Hindu reported.
Kejriwal, a former grassroots anti-graft crusader, took to the streets on Monday to demand control of New Delhi’s police — currently answerable to the union home minister — be transferred to the state government. He is also demanding the suspension of police officers involved in the investigation of the gang-rape of a Danish tourist and separate run-ins with his ministers.
A self-confessed anarchist, Kejriwal’s sit-in at a high security zone, where the Indian Parliament and major ministries are housed, has snarled traffic and made life miserable for commuters.
“Anarchist CM Plunges Delhi Into Chaos,” says the Hindu newspaper. “If the chief minister will sit in protest who will run the government?” says a visibly disillusioned taxi driver Mangal Singh, the likes of whom had voted Kejriwal into power last December.