Kejriwal detained as activists take out march over coal issue

Activist Arvind Kejriwal and hundreds of erstwhile Team Anna supporters were detained on Sunday when they marched to the residences of the Prime Minister and Congress and BJP chiefs on the issue of coal block allocation with police using teargas and water cannons to disperse them.

Kejriwal was detained for the second time on Sunday as he was picked up from outside the residence of the Prime Minister this morning.

The protest also brought to fore differences in the group over targeting BJP, with activist Kiran Bedi keeping herself away from Jantar Mantar.

Initially, police did not prevent protesters from marching towards the Prime Minister's residence though barricades were erected at several places. However, as they reached near the residences, they were stopped.

The protesters in separate groups marched from Jantar Mantar towards the residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Race Course Road, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Janpath and BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Tughlaq Road.

Police used water canons and lobbed teargas shells besides using force in Janpath, Akbar Road and Tughlaq Road to disperse the crowd.

Kejriwal, who was detained along with Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas from various places, told reporters "Our intention was to show the nation that how BJP and Congress were hand-in-glove over the coal allocation issue.We have done our job, it is time we should go back." The march was stopped at Janpath, Akbar Road and Tughlaq Road but as the protesters were tried to jump over the barricades to proceed, police warned them and later resorted to using water canons and lobbing teargas shells.

Some of the protesters also punctured the tyres of the buses and refused to move out of the place. Police then used force to remove them from the area.

Sporadic protests throughout the day were witnessed outside the residences of Prime Minister, the Congress president and the BJP chief and a number of protesters were detained and subsequently released.

The day began on a dramatic note with Kejriwal and five others surfacing in front of the residences of the Prime Minister and Congress and BJP party presidents All the six - Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai, Kumar Vishas, Sanjay Singh and another person - were later released from custody after being detained for about an hour at the Mandir Marg police station where their supporters staged a protest and prevented police from taking them to Bawana.

While Kejriwal and Gopal were picked up from outside Singh's residence, Sisodia and Vishwas were detained from outside 10 Janpath, the residence of the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Sanjay Singh and another person was detained from outside Gadkari's residence.

The activists had announced the gherao of the residences of these three leaders alleging that Congress and BJP were hand-in-glove in corruption and involved in the allocation of coal blocks.

Though the activists had announced that they will gather at Jantar Mantar and march towards the residences of the leaders, Kejriwal and his aides took others by surprise and came to the protest venues where they were detained.

"What wrong are we doing? We are just sitting quietly on the footpath. At least we should be told why we are being detained," Kejriwal said. A spokesperson for the protesters said they did not violate prohibitory orders as only two persons had gathered at the spot.

"When Raj Thackeray takes thousands of his supporters without permission for a protest, police provide protection. What kind of politics is this?" he said. Kejriwal said, "we will gherao again. We want to give message to Congress and BJP".

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