'Upvas Diwas': AAP Leaders Begin Mass Fasting In Delhi, Punjab, To Protest Against Kejriwal's Arrest

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann paid tribute to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh ahead of participating in the mass fasting event in Punjab's Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on Sunday.

Vikram Raj / Outlook
AAP Mass Fasting In Delhi's Jantar Mantar Photo: Vikram Raj / Outlook

The Aam Aadmi Party leaders have gathered to observe a day-long fast or 'Upvas Diwas' on Sunday in Delhi's Jantar Mantar to protest against the arrest of their party leader and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal.

Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai announced on Saturday that a united show of support would involve a gathering of followers at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and Khatkar Kalan in Punjab, the birthplace of the revered freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

During this event, AAP leaders and party members will participate in a large-scale hunger strike.

AAP Leaders Speak

AAP leader Sanjay Singh who was granted bail a few days back in the Delhi Excise Policy case, addressed the audience at 'Upvas Diwas' event and said, "Show me where it is written that if an honest Chief Minister is put in jail on false charges, then he has to submit his resignation. AAP leaders have not been getting bail for the past one year.”

Delhi minister and party leader Atishi spoke to media on Sunday as she posed a few questions in response to the matter of Arvind Kejriwal's arrest, she said, "...People of Delhi love Arvind Kejriwal. They don't think of him as a CM but as their son, or brother. All want the bail for Arvind Kejriwal. BJP's ED and CBI haven't been able to show a single penny of liquor scam from the leaders of AAP. If there is any money trail in this issue, it's from liquor trader Sharat Reddy to the BJP. Why BJP's has not been raided, or accused, why has the BJP's National President not been summoned or arrested?..."

AAP leader Jasmine Shah arrived at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Sunday morning and spoke to PTI about the agenda of the event.

He said, "The citizens of the country are watching the kind of environment we have here. This event ‘Samuhik Upvas’ has been organised in the country to raise our voices against the dictatorship. We have gathered today at Jantar Mantar."

AAP leader Sandeep Pathak said, "Fasting purifies the mind and soul. We will pray to god today to grant (Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal the strength and blessings to let him move forward on the path of struggle."

AAP leader Kailash Gahlot said, "The way Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested and put behind bars is absolutely illegal. By gathering together for fasting, it's our attempt to show that voices of opposition are being suppressed. The sympathy of people is with AAP and Arvind Kejriwal."

Preparation for AAP's 'Upvas Diwas'

A temporary structure has been built with carpets laid for the 'Upvas Diwas' observation on Sunday in Delhi's Jantar Mantar.

Upvas Diwas in Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann along with AAP MLAs volunteered to participate in the mass fast in Punjab's Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

Mann spoke to reporters on Sunday and said, “The Constitution is in danger today. They (BJP) jail whoever they want, the voice of the opposition is being oppressed. If they trust themselves then why are they putting opposition leaders behind bars? They are scared that AAP will pose a challenge to them in the coming times.”

AAP MLA Dinesh Chadha told the media on Saturday that the Punjab chief minister and the ruling party's legislators will sit on a fast at Khatkar Kalan in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district on April 7 in the fight to save democracy.

He also appealed to the people of Punjab to take part in the fast.

Gopal Rai on 'Upvas Diwas'

During a press conference Gopal Rai also mentioned that the community fasting will observed simultaneously in 25 states across India.

He also added that, "key international hubs including New York, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC, Melbourne, and London, supporters will extend their support to Kejriwal through community fasting."

Rai urged people who are against the arrest of Kejriwal and who wish to protect the democracy of the country to join in organized fasts at different places such as homes, villages, neighborhoods, block headquarters, tehsils, districts, and state capitals.

He also suggested people to come together in prayer or listen to the devotional songs like 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram' on YouTube as a way to show support and unity with Kejriwal.

Rai said, "You can sing it collectively. Together, we will pray for Kejriwal to receive strength and fight against tyranny while he is in jail. We can fight to bring the truth to light."

Kejriwal, who is also the AAP national convener, was arrested last month by the Enforcement Directorate in an excise policy-linked money laundering case. He had been sent to judicial custody till April 15.