INTERNATIONAL

Delhi CM’s arrest: AAP supporters protest outside Indian consulate in Toronto

Toronto: Supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Canada staged a demonstration outside the Indian consulate in Toronto on Friday afternoon to protest the arrest of its national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP supporters protesting the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal in front of the Indian consulate in Toronto, Canada on Friday. (Credit: AAP Volunteers Team Toronto)

Between 18 and 20 AAP volunteers gathered in front of the consulate and demanded the release of Kejriwal, while they also shouted slogans.

Among them was Sudeep Singla, who has been associated with the party in Canada since 2011. “We knew this (the arrest) is going to happen, but we were still very upset,” he said.

The protest was organised very quickly and volunteers gathered despite a snowstorm blanketing the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Friday being a working day.

A memorandum was handed over to an official of the consulate though the protesters were prevented by security from entering the mission’s premises. Security measures at the consulate have been enhanced since last summer following threats from pro-Khalistan groups following the killing of separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18 last year.

Singla said that AAP supporters in Canada were “very agitated” and there were numerous phone calls exchanged and online meetings held after news of Kejriwal’s arrest in Delhi broke.

“We the AAP Volunteers of Toronto, Canada, condemn these draconian steps of the (Narendra) Modi government as this amounts to curbing democracy and heading towards dictatorship. We demand the immediate release of Mr Kejriwal and other party leaders,” the memorandum stated. Volunteers described the arrest as among the “draconian steps” being taken by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Singla said they were watching developments in India and further action could be undertaken depending on the evolving situation there.

He said if the circumstances did not change, there could be global protests by AAP’s chapters in North America, as well as other countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, including those in various cities in Canada.

Kejriwal was arrested on Thursday in a case of alleged money-laundering connected to the 2021-22 Delhi excise policy and has been remanded to Enforcement Director custody by a Delhi court till March 28.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it’s all here, just a click away! – Login Now! Get Latest World News along with Latest News from India at Hindustan Times. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Delhi CM’s arrest: AAP supporters protest outside Indian consulate in Toronto

Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb. …view detail

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