The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday alleged that Delhi L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena once led a violent mob that attacked social activist Medha Patkar at Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack Saxena from the post. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party also released a video of the incident that purportedly shows Saxena arguing with police officials as a group of people attacked Patkar at a peace meeting organized at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad in the backdrop of post-Godhra riots.
Addressing a press conference, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that everyone will feel ashamed after watching the video except Prime Minister Narendra Modi because he was the one who made Saxena Delhi L-G.
“The women of the country and crores of people must be thinking that PM Modi has done a very shameful act,” Singh said. “Modi ji, remove LG and ask him to join the court process.”
The March 2002 incident has snowballed into a fresh controversy after Saxena recently approached a court in Gujarat with a request to keep a criminal trial against him in abeyance till he holds the top post.
Saxena and three others, including Gujarat BJP MLA Amit P Shah, were booked for rioting, assault, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation and intentional insult in connection with the 21-year-old case. Saxena prayed for the court to keep the trial against him in abeyance citing immunity granted to a Lieutenant Governor under Article 361 (1) of the Constitution.
Patkar has opposed Saxena’s plea, holding his post is not equivalent to a Governor. In her reply to L-G’s plea, the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader insisted that immunity provided under Article 361 of the Constitution to certain top functionaries is not available to the Lieutenant Governor (LG).
“The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi… is not a Governor in terms of Article 153 of the Constitution of India, but merely an ‘Administrator’ of Union Territory who is appointed by the President to act on his behalf,” stated her reply.
Saxena founded the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), a non-profit NGO with its headquarters in Ahmedabad, in 1991. The NCCL opposed Medha Patkar and her Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in their attempts to stop construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat.
The official website of Delhi L-G mentions that NCCL built a “formidable opposition to those who, driven by some vested agenda, created hurdles to stall the construction of the SardarSarovar Project (SSP) and other upcoming hydro projects on Narmada Valley since 1991.”