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Indian police detain opposition protesters in New Delhi | Protests News


Indian police have detained dozens of opposition protesters as they sought to march to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence.

The arrests on Tuesday prevented supporters of Delhi’s top elected official, Arvind Kejriwal, from demanding the release of the prominent opposition leader after he was detained on corruption charges last week.

The protesters gathered at India’s Parliament House to begin their march. Policemen, some in riot gear, quickly surrounded them.

Kejriwal, one of the country’s most consequential politicians of the past decade and a leading rival to Modi, was arrested on Thursday. He and his Aaam Admi Party (AAP), or Common Man’s Party, are accused of accepting 1 billion rupees ($12m) in bribes from liquor contractors nearly two years ago.

The party has denied the accusation, alleging that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) fabricated it. It has accused the financial crimes agency of being controlled by Modi’s government.

The AAP is part of a broad alliance of opposition parties called INDIA, which is the main challenger to Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general election scheduled to begin in April and run until June.

Kejriwal was taken into custody for seven days after a court order on Friday. His party said he would remain Delhi’s chief minister as it takes the case to court. Hundreds of his supporters have been holding protests since.

The ED accused Kejriwal of being the “kingpin and key conspirator” in the liquor bribery case.

Kejriwal’s arrest means that all of AAP’s main leaders are now in jail. Two of Kejriwal’s deputies were detained last year in connection with the same case.

Ahead of the elections, opposition parties have accused the government of misusing its power to harass and weaken political opponents. They have pointed to a spree of raids, arrests and corruption investigations against key opposition figures.

Meanwhile, some probes opened against opposition leaders who then defected to Modi’s BJP have been dropped.

The BJP denies targeting the opposition and says law enforcement agencies act independently.

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