Congress Yatra: Himanta Orders FIR Against Rahul

The Asian Age.  | manoj anand

India, Politics

The yatra was stopped from entering the state capital Guwahati on Tuesday, leading to protests by Congress workers

Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters during the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' march in Guwahati on January 23, 2024. (AFP)

Guwahati: The Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra was stopped from entering the state capital Guwahati on Tuesday, leading to protests by Congress workers who broke the barricades and raised slogans, forcing the police to order a lathi-charge in which a few Congress workers, including Assam Congress president Bhupen Borah, were injured.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told reporters that the yatra was “benefitting from what Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is doing”. Reiterating that Assam chief minister is “the most corrupt CM” in the country, he said the yatra has become the “main issue” in Assam right now.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has directed the state police to file a case against Mr Gandhi for “provoking the crowd”. “These are not part of Assamese culture. We are a peaceful state. Such ‘Naxalite tactics’ are completely alien to our culture. I have instructed DGP Assam police to register a case against Rahul Gandhi for provoking the crowd and use the footage you have posted on your handles as the evidence,” the Assam CM said in his social media post.

Earlier, over 5,000 Congress workers, along with Mr Rahul Gandhi, trying to enter Guwahati were intercepted after the party restarted its “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra” in Assam on Tuesday. After this, party workers clashed with the police and broke through police barricades. Policemen resorted to a lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.

Addressing supporters from the bus top, Mr Gandhi said that while BJP president J.P. Nadda took the same route, they were not allowed to travel on it. “You should not think we are weak. We have broken the barricades,” he told his workers and supporters, calling them “babbar sher” (lion).

“They have cancelled my programme at the university. My programme was cancelled, but students heard me outside,” he said.

“Congress workers do not fear anyone,” he said, adding: “We will defeat the BJP in Assam and form a Congress government soon.” He also lauded the police for doing their job well. “We know that police officers have done a good job and followed orders, with one person coming and lying down before the (yatra) bus. We are not against you. We are against the chief minister, who is the most corrupt. Our fight is with him,” said Mr Gandhi.

He said that policemen were also clapping at his speech but hastened to add that they should not. “We have won as we have broken the barricades,” AICC Assam in-charge Jitendra Singh said. Mr Gandhi later proceeded from the designated route on the Ring Road.

It is significant that the Assam CM had said the yatra would not be allowed to enter the city in order to avoid traffic jams.

The Assam Congress has accused the state government of creating problems over their yatra and lodging police complaints unnecessarily. Mr Gandhi also alleged that his talk at a university was cancelled at the behest of Union home minister Amit Shah and the Assam CM.

Mr Gandhi, on Tuesday, participated in a NECC meeting at Queens Hotel, located on the Meghalaya-Assam border. He was also due to meet Guwahati civil society members. The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra resumed from the Queens Hotel at around 10 am. This is the tenth day of the yatra, which will culminate in Assam’s Bishnupur in the state.