Thursday, June 1, 2023

Cong flays ‘goondaism’ of Delhi cops as protests over Rahul ED probe grow

The opposition Congress heavily flayed what it calls the “absolute goondaism” of the Delhi Police for allegedly entering the Congress headquarters in the capital and beating up workers.
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said this was done at the behest of the central government. “This is criminal trespass. Their goondaism has reached its zenith. This won’t be tolerated and will be accounted for,” Surjewala said.
Wednesday was the third day of nationwide demonstrations by party workers – many prominent leaders have taken to the streets in the Capital – to protest Rahul Gandhi’s grilling by the Enforcement Directorate for his alleged involvement in the National Herald case. The charge is that the Gandhis had fraudulently acquired the ownership of the company that publishes the National Herald newspaper.
Sonia Gandhi has also been summoned by the ED and will appear before the investigating agency as soon as she recovers from COVID.
Meanwhile, Surjewala demanded that a first information report (FIR) be launched in Wednesday’s police action at the Congress headquarters. “The officers involved should be suspended and disciplinary action initiated,” he said.
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram called the police the “private militia” of the ruling BJP.
The Congress has threatened to protest in front of Raj Bhavans across India on Thursday. Protests will also be held at all district levels Friday, Surjewala said.
Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sagar Preet Hooda responded to the Congress’ claims, stating there might have been a scrimmage as protesters threw barricades at the police near the Congress office. “But the police did not go inside the office and use lathis. The police did not use any force. We appeal to party workers to coordinate with us,” Hooda said.
The senior officer said the force had made adequate arrangements for Wednesday – the third day of Rahul’s questioning; therefore, agitation – but the “Congress had not taken permission for gathering today”. “Their office-bearers know that Section 144 is in force,” he said, adding, “But we facilitated the movement of the party’s senior functionaries even though they did not coordinate today.”
Hooda said around 800 people have been detained in the last three days. On Wednesday afternoon, the police held senior leader Sachin Pilot as protests turned more vocal and restless.


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