IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

Mass hunger strike across India demanding Kejriwal’s release

Arafat Rahman

The party’s leaders and activists are holding a “mass fast” or mass hunger strike across India to demand the release of Arvind Kejriwal.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is holding a “mass fast” across India to demand his release. After the arrest of Kejriwal by the country’s central investigation agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21, they are holding this program for the first time in the country and abroad on Sunday.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai said supporters of Arvind Kejriwal are taking part in the party’s “mass fast” across India and abroad. This mass hunger strike will continue until 5 pm local time on Sunday.

All AAP MLAs and office-bearers have gathered at Jantar Mantar for a day-long fast, according to the country’s media NDTV. Security has been beefed up on roads leading to the protest site, government officials said. They said heavy barricades on the roads could lead to traffic jams in some parts of central Delhi.

Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party had called for a sit-in at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence last month. After arresting some of the Aam Aadmi Party leaders and workers who took part in the protest at that time, the police dragged them in a car and took them to different police stations in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the party alleged that the arrest of Kejriwal was an attempt to hinder the Aam Aadmi Party from campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. AAP ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the Chief Minister is issuing various orders from the jail. The two UP leaders said that the Chief Minister is thinking about the welfare of the people of Delhi even from jail.

The arrest of Kejriwal has brought about greater unity in India, the coalition led by the country’s opposition Congress against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This alliance of opposition held a huge rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan last Sunday to show its strength. From that rally, it was alleged that the BJP was destroying the opposition through the central investigative agencies.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the investigative body of the Union Finance Ministry, in connection with the liquor policy scam, just a few weeks before India’s national elections. Later, Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court granted his remand till March 28 and sent him to ED custody. A Delhi court on Thursday extended his remand by another term.

The Aam Aadmi Party says the case is fabricated and politically motivated. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have denied allegations of political interference, law enforcement agencies are doing their job.

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