Condemning the police action, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came out in support of Yadav, with whom he had a bitter public falling out four months ago leading to the latter's ouster from Aam Aadmi Party.

The protesters alleged that the policemen manhandled Yadav and other volunteers during the crackdown in the wee hours, a charge denied by the police which said it was a preventive arrest as they were planning to take out a rally without permission in the high security area.

"Yogendra Yadav and 85 others were arrested at around 1.30 AM today. They had permission to carry out the protest for two days. They were also planning a march at the Delhi Race Course. Last evening they asked to extend for permission until August 16. As the deadline got over, we asked them to vacate the place. No one has been injured as claimed by protesters," said a senior police officer, adding that the arrested will be produced before a Special Magistrate.

The police added they have made 'preventive arrests' under sections 107 (action where breach of the peace or disturbance is apprehended) and 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Meanwhile, AAP's National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at police, saying it is the fundamental right of every citizen to protest peacefully.

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