Kejriwal's 'Aam Admi' gestures spell extra work for Delhi cops

Arvind KejriwalDelhi's incoming Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may have forsworn the trappings of personal security, yet his swearing-in on Saturday is creating a law-and-order headache for the Delhi Police.

Kejriwal – whose Aam Admi Party is taking over the state government with outside support from the Congress – has insisted on being sworn in along with his ministers at the public Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi rather than the traditional hallowed precincts of Raj Bhavan.

Worse still for the cops, the AAP has announced that Kejriwal and all his ministers would take the metro rail for the swearing-in, rather than take the usual motorcade. This may appear a fine gesture to the public, but – like Mahatma Gandhi's insistence on travelling third class in the past – this creates more problems than it solves for the police. They would no doubt prefer that Kejriwal would be escorted travel in the more manageable, flashing-beacon motorcade.

As many as 1,600 Delhi Police personnel will keep a tight vigil at Ramlila Maidan, according to reports. The Security Wing will secure the stage where Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Kejriwal and six other ministers.

In order to ensure foolproof security, different units of Delhi Police have been entrusted with separate jobs. A central control room has been set up at the venue for real-time monitoring and to ensure coordination among security personnel.

Arrangements related to law and order and crowd management will be the responsibility of the staff of the Central Range, while the Traffic Police will make arrangements to regulate vehicular movements.

Cameras have been installed at more than 20 strategic locations and spotters will be deployed during the event at neighbouring high-rise buildings. Delhi Police commandos and bomb squads will also be deployed along with anti-riot police and vehicles at the venue.

The venue will be sanitised once this evening and again tomorrow morning by metal detectors and sniffer dogs. Other than armed policemen in uniform, there will also be plain clothes detectives patrolling the venue.

"We are expecting a turnout of 30 to 35 thousand for the swearing in ceremony tomorrow. Sufficient security arrangements have been put in place. Every visitor will be frisked properly manually and doorframe metal detectors have been put in place at the entry gates of the venue," said a senior Delhi Police was reported to have said.