The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on Sunday came down hard on Congress leaders protesting against the recent communal violence in Indore that claimed six lives.
In Bhopal, police dragged away septuagenarian Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi from the dharna site in front of the chief minister’s residence with no consideration of her age.
In Indore, senior Congress leaders — including a former chief minister and two Union ministers — were confined at Devi Ahilya airport even as they insisted on visiting the curfew-bound areas. Later, the administration arrested AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, PCC chief Suresh Pachauri and state Congress campaign committee chairman Ajay Singh. Two Union ministers, V. Narayansami and Kantilal Bhuria, were let off at the airport as they hold constitutional posts.
A political confrontation of this nature has never been seen before in Madhya Pradesh. What’s more, the ruling BJP gave a clean chit to the district administration, blaming the Congress for fomenting trouble in Indore.
After the drama had played out, the BJP’s state unit chief Narendra Tomar addressed a press conference and described the Congress leaders’ attempt to visit the affected areas as “a political stunt”. He said the action against the Congress leaders was taken in the larger interest of society, to maintain peace.
Asked who should be blamed for the Indore killings, Tomar said the state accepted responsibility but accused the Congress of not “acting responsibly” on the issue.