Monday, August 15, 2022

Sonia Gandhi’s ED questioning: Congress units in NE stage protest

Along with several other states in the country, the Congress units in Northeast also protested against the 3 hours interrogation of Sonia in the National Herald money laundering case.
Police detain leaders and workers in Assam
Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah, a host of party MLAs, and several party leaders were detained by police on Thursday when they staged a protest against the questioning of Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
Raising slogans and slamming the BJP-led government, the Congress leaders and scores of workers tried to march along the arterial Guwahati-Shillong Road from the state party headquarters Rajiv Bhawan near Bhangagarh area.
Anticipating such a move by the opposition party, the Guwahati Police had already put up a strong contingent of personnel and erected barricades just outside the Rajiv Bhawan to prevent them from proceeding to the local ED office in Rajgarh area.
Borah and others were seen climbing the barricade to cross over to the other side. The police then dragged him and pushed him inside a bus.
When other Congress leaders also tried to break the barricade and move ahead, police detained dozens of leaders and workers, but later released them, a senior official said.
Along with Borah, MLAs Jakir Hussain Sikdar, Nandita Das, Digant Barman, and Rekibuddin Ahmed, state functionaries, office bearers of sister organisations, and scores of general workers were bundled in several buses and detained for a few hours.
“We are not going to bow down to such pressure tactics. This vindictive attitude of the BJP government is not acceptable. Our protest will be intensified if such repressive measures are not stopped,” Borah told reporters here.
He accused Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of using the police force to protect the interests of the ruling party and suppressing peaceful democratic protests.
The ED on Thursday recorded the statement of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for two hours in the National Herald money laundering case and ended the session for the day on her request as she is recovering from Covid.
The probe relates to alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper.
Tripura Cong protests outside ED office
The Congress protested outside the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office near Barjala in West Tripura district on Thursday over the questioning of party president Sonia Gandhi by the agency in New Delhi.
Alleging “vendetta politics” of the BJP-led government at the Centre, hundreds of Congress workers raised slogans and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Gandhi was interrogated by the ED in connection with her alleged involvement in the National Herald case. To protest the move, the AICC had asked all its state units to stage demonstrations in front of ED offices to garner people’s support.
“The ED summoned Sonia Gandhi in a false case as part of BJP’s dirty politics. This is a ploy to divert the people’s attention from the problems of price rise, GST, crisis in the farming sector, joblessness and steep fall in the value of rupee,” MLA Sudip Roy Barman told reporters.
State Congress president Birajit Sinha said Indira Gandhi was arrested in 1977, but she became the prime minister 27 months after her arrest.
“This time too the people will defeat BJP’s ill-design in the days to come,” he added.
Cong workers confront police in Manipur
A large crowd of Congress workers led by MPCC president K Meghachandra faced off with police in Imphal on Thursday in which some Congress workers were roughly-handled.
The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) staged a protest rally starting from Imphal Congress Bhavan to protests against the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) harassment of AICC leaders by repeatedly summoning them.
On Thursday, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, who appeared before the ED in connection with an alleged money laundering case linked to the National Herald paper, left the agency’s office after three hours of questioning.
Earlier, the ED had summoned Rahul Gandhi repeatedly and questioned him for several hours in connection with the same case.
A large number of Congress workers including MPCC president K Meghachandra and other leaders held up banners and chanted slogans as they carried out a rally from Imphal Congress Bhavan.
When the rally reached Western Gate of Kangla fort and snaked through Imphal Raj Bhavan, a large number of police armed with riot gear arrived and blocked them from further carrying out the rally.
As the protesters tried to proceed forcibly, the police, pushed them back , following which confrontation ensued.
The police took control of the situation after a brief struggle and pushed the protesters upto Congress Bhavan where the Congress workers staged a protest there again, blocking the traffic on the busy BT Road.
During the protest, they alleged the ruling BJP of misusing government agencies like the ED for political mileage and raised many slogans against the BJP government.
There too, the protesters faced off with the police who ordered them (Congress workers) to vacate the street for normal traffic.
There were no reports of injuries among the protesters and police personnel in both the face-off.
However, MPCC president strongly condemned the police alleging the police of excessive towards the Congress workers who were carrying out a peaceful rally.
The MPCC president said that they carried out the rally in solidarity with AICC leader Sonia Gandhi and against the BJP converting the Central government agencies as party’s agencies.
“The ruling BJP has converted the agencies into party’s agencies. The party in power is using agencies like ED to defame opposition leaders, particularly AICC leaders,” he said.
He said the Modi government is misusing almost all the Constitution bodies and agencies were being used as tools to humiliate target opposition leaders.
He worried if such dictatorial activities of the BJP are allowed to continue, the democratic rights of the citizens of the country will be at stake.
The MPCC president alleged that the BJP government is harassing the opposition leaders by misusing the ED while asking the reason behind summoning only the leaders of the Congress.
Later, in a Facebook post, MPCC alleged that several Congress members were assaulted by the police during the protest rally.
(Correspondent)

Police struggling with protesting Congress workers in Imphal on Thursday.
SourcePTI

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