Mumbai: AAP protestors experience extreme police brutality, allege arbitrary detentions

AAP leaders and volunteers had been protesting against the “illegal” arrest of Delhi CM and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal outside the ED Mumbai office late nigh Thursday, March 21

Soon after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the evening of March 21, AAP party members and supporters took to the streets to protest against the actions of the central agency. Kejriwal was arrested by ED came hours after the Delhi High Court had refused to provide him with interim protection against any coercive actions to be undertaken by ED. Notably, ED has been investigating corruption allegations in a liquor policy implemented by Kejriwal’s government in 2022 and has arrested the top leader weeks before the 2024 General Elections. It has been alleged by the central agency that the liquor policy allegedly gave undue advantages to private retailers. Kejriwal is the most recent minister to be arrested in the case, with former deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, and former ministers Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh already in prison.

Equally pertinent to highlight here is, that a few hours prior to Kejriwal’s arrest, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had released the complete electoral bond data with the unique identification numbers on the orders of the Supreme Court. Just one hour prior to the nigh time arrest, independent media had revealed that the Hyderabad based company, namely Aurobindo Pharma Limited, had donated Rs 5 crore to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2022. Ironically, the company has P Sarath Chandra Reddy as one of its directors, who is one of the accused that was taken into custody by the ED in the Delhi Liquor Policy case. As detailed in the report of Scroll, Reddy was arrested by the ED in the said case on November 10, 2022. Ironically, this man accused and arrested in the Liquor Scam was first arrested and thereafter his company Aurobindo Pharma bought electoral bonds worth Rs 5 crore on November 15. All of them were encashed by the BJP soon after, on November 21, 2022!

It is essential to highlight here that Sarath Reddy’s bail case had come up before the Delhi high court, the Enforcement Directorate did not oppose bail. In May 2023, the court granted him bail on medical grounds. Notably, another Rs 25 crore was donated to the BJP after Reddy turned approver in the Delhi excise policy case. As per the report, Sarath Reddy had turned approver in the Delhi excise policy case in June 2023. In November 2023, Aurobindo Pharma gave another Rs 25 crore to the BJP. Reddy continues to be out after turning approver.

AAP Protests

As news of his arrested emerged, AAP Mumbai announced a protest outside the ED office in Mumbai at 11 pm. The protestors had deemed the said arrest to be “illegal”.

Soon enough, Mumbai police reached the protest site and started detaining those protesting outside the ED office.

It has been claimed by the protesters that extreme brutality was meted out at the protestors at the hands of the Mumbai police. The team of Sabrang India was provided details by AAP Mumbai President, Preeti Menon and Zoru Bhathena, senior AAP Mumbai member and activist, who provided that the protestors were hot and pushed by the Mumbai police during the protest. Bhathena also provided that AAP leader Aslam Merchant was also punched in the nose by an inspector, due to which the leader suffered a severe bleeding.

Sabrang India made every effort to contact both the Azad Maidan and MRA police stations for their reactions on both the detentions and the allegations of unprofessional and violent conduct. The Azad Maidan police station representative who refused to identify himself declined giving any information except to say that the AAP leaders and activists were not detained there. The MRA police station representative did speak to Sabrang India, admitted that detentions took place in this jurisdiction and answered in the affirmative when we asked whether they were produced before the jurisdictional Court. He however declined from identifying himself and said he had “no information on the violent ill-treatment meted out at the MRA police station.”

The ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) account of AAP Mumbai also provided a video of Mumbai President Preeti Sharma Menon, Working President Ruben Mascarenhas and other leaders including Deepaq Silan being arrested by the Mumbai police and being stuffed in a police van.

Many others were arrested.

Details provided by the AAP Mumbai team stated that one of the Mumbai cops present in civil clothes, namely Vishal Kasar, allegedly even threw Menon on the floor. As provided by him, the said cop had a clear smell of alcohol on his breath. A video of the officer allegedly shoving Memon was shared on social media through the AAP Mumbai account.

Statement of AAP Mumbai President Menon is as follows:

The team of Sabrang India was further appraised that after the detention, the protestors were shifted from police station to police station, and were finally made to sit in the Azad Maidan police station. The protestors were allegedly without any light and fans, without chairs, without toilets, without even a durrie to sit on. When the detained protestors demanded to be allowed to sit on the benches, the Mumbai police officers hit and shove them.

On the ‘X’ account of AAP Mumbai, an update of the protestors sitting at the Azad Maidan police station at 1:40 am without any charges being filed against them was put up.

Later, the detained protestors were taken to St George’s hospital for medical examination. The doctors who were conducting their check-up wrote their Blood Pressure without actually checking the same. When objections were raised by the protestors, a woman constable allegedly tore up the evidence.

Many of the AAP leaders and volunteers detained, which included women, in Mumbai remained in detention overnight. As provided by Bhathena, ten AAP leaders, namely Pius Verghese, Ruben Mascarenhas, Manu Pillai, Suresh Acharya, Aditya Paul, Sajid Khan Waheed Khan, Sundar Padmukh, Atanyu Mukherjee, Sudhesh Patel, were still in detention at MRA Marg Police Station at the time of publishing this story. They were to be taken to Mazgaon Court on March 22.

The AAP leaders protesting the arrest of CM Kejriwal in Delhi also met with a similar fate. As per multiple reports, AAP workers and locals had gathered at Delhi’s ITO to protest. Senior leader Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj were also detained.

AAP workers protesting in Chandigarh were also detained.

AAP workers protesting in Lucknow were also detained.



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