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Delhi chief minister calls off sit-in protest

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has called off his sit-in protest to demand police reforms. 

NEW DELHI: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday called off his sit-in protest demanding police reforms that has seen him run the city from a pavement near the home ministry.

Kejriwal told a crowd that two policeman he wanted suspended for misconduct would be sent on leave, but he failed to secure his main demand that the city's police force be put under his government's control.

He said that the lieutenant-general of Delhi, an appointee of the central government, had appealed to him to end his agitation which turned violent on Tuesday.

"After the lieutenant governor's appeal, we all have decided to end our protest here today," Kejriwal told a crowd of cheering supporters after dark on Tuesday.

"I'm very happy today. Today the people of Delhi have won. I want to congratulate the people of Delhi," he added.

Kejriwal, an anti-corruption campaigner who swept to power last month, declared himself an "anarchist" on Monday and called a 10-day protest to disrupt Republic Day celebrations at the weekend.

His central demand was that the Delhi police, widely viewed as corrupt and inefficient, be transferred to his state government's control from the national home ministry.

As with other demands in the past by different chief ministers, the central government refused to agree because of Delhi's status as the national capital.

Kejriwal says the police, the focus of public fury after the fatal gang-rape of a student in December 2012, have failed to prevent crimes against women.

"We are committed to ensuring the security for women in Delhi. If any woman in Delhi is attacked, we will not sit quiet, we will raise our voice," he said.

Kejriwal had demanded the suspension of five officials in total over recent crimes, but only two were sent on leave, the Press Trust of India reported.

Clashes broke out on Tuesday between riot police armed with batons and dozens of supporters of Kejriwal when they were prevented from joining his sit-in protest.

The 44-year-old chief minister slept outside on the pavement on Monday night after beginning his protest earlier in the day.

Aides brought him files for the administration of the city of 17 million people as he sat with other members of the cabinet at the protest site, near colonial-era buildings housing the presidency, parliament and ministries.

He had warned earlier on Tuesday that he would escalate the demonstration and was prepared to sit indefinitely.

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