Impressive show of strength by Cong
IT WAS meant to be a show of strength and the hitherto inert Congress party succeeded in sending a strong message to the BJP as thousands of Congress workers congregated in front of the divisional commissioner?s office to protest against slapping of Section 307 of IPC against Congress MLA Ashwin Joshi during the course of a communal incident in the Toda region on Tuesday.india Updated: Jan 20, 2006 13:21 IST
IT WAS meant to be a show of strength and the hitherto inert Congress party succeeded in sending a strong message to the BJP as thousands of Congress workers congregated in front of the divisional commissioner’s office to protest against slapping of Section 307 of IPC against Congress MLA Ashwin Joshi during the course of a communal incident in the Toda region on Tuesday.
A memorandum in the Governor’s name was handed over to officials at the commissioner’s office on the occasion.
This demonstration has been by far the most impressive one staged by the Congress in the recent past. The Congressmen started gathering at Ahilya Chowk, Rajwada from around 10 am itself.
At around 11.30 am they started moving towards the commissioner’s office shouting slogans against the BJP Government and the administration.
As more and more Congressmen joined the procession, at one point the entire stretch of the MG Road from near the Indore Press club to the Krishnapura bridge was filled with Congress workers – some walking carrying Congress flags and banners, others riding two wheelers and four wheelers – as they marched towards the gates of the commissioner’s office.
Riding in an open jeep was Ashwin Joshi along with his close supporters, with party workers shouting slogans exhorting him to continue his struggle against the BJP. Most of the senior leaders including City Congress president Ujagar Singh, former minister Rameshwar Patel, former MLAs Ramlal Yadav and Satyanarayan Patel, corporators Sarvar Khan, Chote Yadav, Ramesh
Gagre, Bante Yadav, Atul Shukla, Arvind Bagri, Prem Kharatya, Mumtaz Khan, Chandu Kuril, Rashmi Verma, Surjeet Singh Chadda, Hemlata Sonkar, Dilip Kaushal, Raju Kula, Sanjay Shukla, Radhey Borasi, Ayaz Guddu, Shiekh Aleem, Chotu Shukla, Archana Jaiswal, Congress leaders Ramnarayan Tiwari, Surendra Jain, Ambu Jain, Ashok Dhavan, Anil Shukla, Ajay Rathore,
Pramod Tandon, Vipin Khujneri, Akhtar Baig, Narmada Nigam, Prakash Tiwari, Abdul Rauf were also there. Leaders of various front organisations of Congress Devendra Singh Yadav, Manisha Gaur, Laxminarayan Pathak, Jitu Patwari, Akhilesh Jain, Mukesh Yadav among others were also present in the rally.
Addressing a meeting outside the commissioner’s office MLA Antar Singh Darbar said that ever since the BJP came to power in the State, various units of the Sangh parivar - RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, etc were constantly taking the law in their own hands.
He said that people associated with these organisation had killed tribal leader Pyarsingh Nenama and his son. He warned that such things would not be tolerated any longer and said the Congress would fight the fascist forces on the street.
Alote MLA Premchand Guddu sounded a warning for the administration officials by saying that they should remember that in future the Congress would come to power and then these officials who were misbehaving with the Congress leaders would have to face the music.
MLA Ashwin Joshi said this was not merely his personal battle but that of the entire party as it was as assault on the Congress way of thinking. He said that thousands of Congressmen by joining the demonstration had proved their point. He said he would not allow the City to be torn by communal strife which was the ultimate aim of the BJP and entire Sangh parivar.
City Congress president Ujagar Singh said that Congress stood united for unity, peace and good among the people and if any attempts were made to destroy this peace, Congressmen would come out on the streets.
City Congress vice-president K K Mishra who conducted the programme said religious fundamentalists were pursuing a hidden agenda and trying to polarize the society and were hell bent on inciting riots in the City.
Under these circumstances was it right on part of the police to book an elected public representative who was trying to restore peace under Section 307 of IPC?
Later, Congressmen handed over memorandum in the name of Governor Dr Balram Jakhar to Additional Commissioner R K Khare, who came to take the memorandum on Commissioner Ashok Das’s behalf.
The memorandum alleged that the BJP Government was pressuring the administration to misuse its power to fulfil the party’s political agenda.
They alleged that every since the BJP came to power there had been 70 incidents in which members of the saffron brigade had taken law into their own hand – they had attacked religious places of minorities, gehraoed police stations, ransacked hospitals and hotels and even invaded the airport.
The memorandum pointed out that Section 307 of IPC had been slapped against Joshi even though he was only trying stop fundamentalists from inciting passion, while BJP MLA Usha Thakur who was inciting people had been allowed to go scot-free.
The Congress party showed a united face at the impressive demonstration in front of the Commissioner’s office today, but there were some minor jarring notes.
One of them was City Youth Congress president Devendra Singh Yadav’s decision to give a separate memorandum in the name of the Governor demanding dismissal of the BJP Government due to the alleged deteriorating law and order situation brought about by the acts of vandalism by the various outfits of the Sangh parivar.
Yadav and his supporters who are known for their anti-Ashwin Joshi stance, did not join the main meeting outside the commissioner’s office. Rather, they went inside the compound of the commissioner’s office where they formed a human chain and tied black bands.
Another jarring note was the failure of Tariq Khan who is the representative of MP Obedullah Azmi in the City to take part in the meeting.
Rajendra Malviya, who lost the Congress ticket from Sanver also did not turn up. Most of the other leaders including Radha Kishan Malviya, Sajjan Singh Verma, Kripa Shankar Shukla, Tulsi Silawat and Shobha Oza had already left for Hyderabad to take part in the AICC convention.