Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal ends sit-in protest

The Delhi Chief Minister prepares to spend the night on the street during his protest demanding action against police personnel for alleged dereliction of duty at Raisina Road, near Rail Bhavan in New Delhi. Image copyright Press trust of india
Image caption The Delhi chief minister had been camped out on the pavement

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called off a sit-in protest in the city centre which was sparked by a row over who controls Delhi's police force.

Mr Kejriwal spent Monday night in the open and conducted business with cabinet members from the street.

His administration had accused the police of failing to deal with an alleged drugs and prostitution ring - something they denied.

The chief minister says he has won concessions from central government.

The government, which commands Delhi's police force, has agreed to send on leave two police officers Mr Kejriwal wants suspended on allegations of misconduct.

"I'm very happy today. Today the people of Delhi have won. I want to congratulate the people of Delhi," AFP news agency quotes Mr Kejriwal as telling supporters.

The protest began on Monday when Mr Kejriwal was prevented from going to the home minister's office to demand the officers' suspension.

He was acting in response to an incident which threatened to become a diplomatic issue, putting his Aam Aadmi Party, the police and members of Delhi's African community at loggerheads.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many supporters of the party tried to join the protest in the heart of Delhi
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds of police were at the protest site, just days ahead of India's Republic Day celebrations

Last Wednesday Mr Kejriwal's Law Minister, Somnath Bharti, and various party supporters allegedly confronted four Ugandan women in a Delhi neighbourhood, accusing them of prostitution.

Police refused to search a nearby house for evidence of the suspected drugs and prostitution ring because they did not have a warrant.

Mr Bharti and supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party were accused of threatening and intimidating the women, forcing their way into homes and making racist remarks - allegations they deny.


Mr Kejriwal's wider demands include police reform and transferring control of Delhi's police force from the federal authorities.

The chief minister also accuses the police of failing to protect women, following the fatal gang-rape of a student in December 2012.

The Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party, performed unexpectedly well in state elections on an anti-corruption platform, propelling Mr Kejriwal to the post of chief minister last month.

India's general election must take place by May and the party, only one year old, is expected to field a large number of candidates. The protest in Delhi is thought likely to raise its profile as the national poll approaches.

While hailed as a victory by some, Mr Kejriwal's protest has been criticised by others, who urged him to get off the streets in order to govern as he was elected to do.

His sit-in had caused congestion in central Delhi as police barricaded roads to the site. Police clashed with protesters who had gathered to join him on Tuesday.

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