Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday alleged that the Centre tried to “pressure” the Delhi government to convert the nine stadiums into temporary prisons during the farmers’ ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest.
Kejriwal’s remarks come as he arrived at Guru Teg Bahadur Memorial near the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) to meet the protesting farmers and inspect the arrangements made for them.
Speaking to the media, he said that despite the Centre’s pressure, the Delhi government did not proceed with the Delhi Police’s request to convert stadiums into temporary prisons as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) believes that all the concerns of the farmers are legitimate.
“If you recall the farmers first came to the border areas of the Delhi, the Central government and the Delhi Police had pressured us to convert the 9 stadiums into prisons. At that time, I was put under pressure to give permission. I received a lot of phone calls. They had prepared a plan to send the farmers into the stadium. But we did not give them permission which helped the farmers to continue their protest,” he alleged.
“First of all, we support all the demands of the farmers. All the concerns and demands of the farmers are legitimate. From the beginning, our government and our party have stood with the farmers’ struggle,” the Chief Minister said.
Last month, the Delhi Government had rejected the request made by the Delhi Police seeking to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ farmers protest.”The demand of the farmers is legitimate. The Centre must accept the demand made by the farmers. To put them behind the jail is not the solution. Every citizen in the country has the right to protest in a non-violent way…That is why we reject the demand made by Delhi Police to convert the stadiums into makeshift jails,” the Delhi government had said in a statement.
Commenting on the current arrangements made to accommodate the needs of the farmers, Kejriwal said, “We have to help the farmers. Even today I have not come as a Chief Minister but as a ‘sevadar’ to help the farmers. They work for us 24 hours around the clock and today the farmers need us. I have come to see the arrangements being made for the farmers.”
On farmers’ ‘Bharat bandh’ call, Kejriwal said that the AAP will fully support the farmers with the hope that the ‘bandh’ will be observed peacefully.
“Farmer said that they are satisfied by the basic arrangements here….. All of our workers, officials, and volunteers are helping the farmers. AAP will fully support the December 8 Bharat bandh throughout the country. I hope that this bandh will be observed peacefully,” he said.
Opposition parties, including Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Shiv Sena and National Congress Party (NCP) also supported the call for ‘Bharat bandh’.