Yadav, supporters arrested to thwart rally to PM's residence

New Delhi,August 11: Ex-AAP leader Yogendra Yadav was today arrested along with 85 volunteers of his Swaraj Abhiyan during a protest on farmers' issue at Jantar Mantar as police thwarted their planned rally to Prime Minister's residence.

Condemning the police action, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came out in support of Yadav, with whom he had a bitter public falling out four months ago leading to the latter's ouster from Aam Aadmi Party.

The protesters alleged that the policemen manhandled Yadav and other volunteers during the crackdown in the wee hours,a charge denied by the police which said it was a preventive arrest as they were planning to take out a rally without permission in the high security area.

"Yogendra Yadav and 85 others were arrested at around 1.30 AM today. They had permission to carry out the protest for two days.

"They were also planning a march at the Delhi Race Course. Last evening they asked to extend for permission until August 16.As the deadline got over, we asked them to vacate the place.

"No one has been injured as claimed by protesters," said a senior police officer, adding that the arrested will be produced before a Special Magistrate.

The police said they have made "preventive arrests" under sections 107 and 151. 

Meanwhile, AAP's National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at police, saying it is the fundamental right of every citizen to protest peacefully.

"We condemn the way police behaved with Yogendra Yadav and his supporters. This is not right as in this country peaceful demonstration is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution and we condemn such action against peaceful protesters.

"I appeal to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to interfere in this and ask for a report regarding the issue," Kejriwal told to media personnel.

The Chief Minister also expressed his outrage on twitter.

"I strongly condemn the treatment meted out to Yogendra ji by the Delhi Police. They were protesting peacefully.

"It is their fundamental right," he tweeted.

Yadav and Bhushan were expelled from AAP in April after they raised questions over the functioning style of Kejriwal and alleged lack of transparency.

Swaraj Abhiyan, formed by two expelled AAP leaders, had undertaken Jai Kisan Andolan, a farmers agitation against the alleged "anti-peasants" policies of the Centre.

Their 'tractor rally' culminated into a day-long protest at Jantar Mantar yesterday, which was attended by farmers from many states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The outfit has also been demanding to convert the Delhi Race Course into a memorial for farmers.