Rahul Gandhi says lathi-charge on Congress workers in Chhattisgarh as ‘attack on fundamental rights’
According to Chhattisgarh police, Congress workers threw garbage in state minister Amar Agarwal’s house in response to the allegation that Agarwal had described the party as “garbage”.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said a lathi charge by police on protesting party workers in Bilaspur the previous day was an “attack on fundamental rights”. In response, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh criticised both the Congress and the state police for their actions on Tuesday, and ordered a probe into the incident.
Gandhi tweeted a video showing a Congress party worker surrounded, and being hit, by policemen. “In Narendra Modi’s regime, dictatorship has become a vocation. The cowardly manner in which the fundamental rights of Congress party workers were attacked by the Raman Singh government will be remembered by the people as an act of political persecution,” Gandhi wrote in his tweet on Wednesday morning.
According to Chhattisgarh police, on Tuesday, Congress workers threw garbage in state minister Amar Agarwal’s house in response to the allegation that Agarwal had, at a public gathering, described the Congress party as “garbage”. Agarwal has denied the charge.
Bilaspur police registered a case against the Congress workers for rioting, attacking a public servant and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
“As many as 55 Congress activists were arrested, and later released, by the police. Seven Congress workers are still in hospital,” said Congress general secretary Chandan Yadav, who is leading the protest at Bilaspur. Yadav is sitting on dharna in front of Civil Lines police station.
The Congress workers have also been accused of manhandling constables. The party maintains that the protest was peaceful until the police tried to arrest workers outside Congress Bhawan.
Superintendent of police, Bilaspur, Arif Sheikh, said mild force was used.
Chief minister Raman Singh ordered a magistrate inquiry but condemned Congress workers for their alleged misdemeanour, and the police for its action. “Throwing garbage inside a minister’s house and the subsequent lathi charge that took place at Congress Bhawan in Bilaspur are not correct,” Singh said, adding that those found guilty will be punished.
Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said the inquiry was an “eyewash” and demanded a judicial probe. He also sought strict action against the police officers responsible for beating Congress workers inside the party office in Bilaspur
“We will raise this issue with the election commission - that the chief minister is using police against us,” he said, adding that the Congress would organise a protest next week to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to Chhattisgarh.
The party will also move a petition in the Chhattisgarh high court in Bilaspur, seeking action against the police officials and organise protests all over the state, said party spokesperson RP Singh.
First Published: Sep 19, 2018 23:35:57