Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra: Police use batons to disperse Congress workers in Guwahati - Hindustan Times
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Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra: Police use batons to disperse Congress workers in Guwahati

Jan 23, 2024 01:21 PM IST

State Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah and the Opposition leader in Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia were among those injured in the police action

Police used batons to disperse hundreds of Congress workers on Tuesday as they tried to break barricades put up to prevent the member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from proceeding to a busy area in Guwahati, the northeast’s biggest city.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters in Guwahati. (PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters in Guwahati. (PTI)

State Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah and the Opposition leader in Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia were among those injured in the police action a day after Gandhi was denied permission to visit a temple in Nagaon, prompting him to stage a sit-in.

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The barricades were put up at Khanapara to prevent the yatra from proceeding to GS Road, the busiest road in Guwahati. “We have broken down the barricades, but Congress workers would not break the law...Congress workers are not afraid of anyone, including the [ruling] BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] and [its ideological fount] Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh,” said Gandhi in an address from atop a bus minutes after the confrontation.

He vowed to fight for the people’s rights and added the Congress would form the next government in Assam.

Borah hit out at Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government. “This is how the state government is treating us. Our CLP [Congress legislature party] leader and I have been injured. We broke down three barricades set up to prevent our yatra from progressing, but we will continue as planned,” Borah said.

The yatra, which eventually bypassed the city, was due to halt later in the day at Hajo, a pilgrimage town where Gandhi was scheduled to address a press conference.

The authorities denied Congress permission for a procession through Guwahati, citing traffic congestion and inconvenience to the public.

Sarma said he has directed the police to lodge a case against Gandhi for “provoking” a crowd, using the footage posted on social media as evidence. “...not part of Assamese culture. We are a peaceful state. Such ‘Naxalite tactics’ are completely alien to our culture,” he posted on X. He added the “unruly behaviour” and “violation of agreed guidelines” resulted in a traffic jam in Guwahati.

The yatra, which started from Manipur’s Thoubal, entered Meghalaya on Monday. It resumed started from Jorabat along the Assam-Meghalaya border on Tuesday before entering Guwahati at Khanapara.

Security forces on Monday stopped Gandhi and other Congress leaders when they arrived at Batadrava Than, a pilgrimage site associated with Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardev.

Officials cited “orders” when Gandhi asked the security forces why he was not allowed. He staged the sit-in as his supporters sang the devotional song themed on Lord Ram, which was sung during Mahatma Gandhi’s meetings.

Sarma on Sunday asked the Congress leaders to avoid visiting Batadrava Than during the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. On Sunday, he said the state government would deploy commandos to control the situation if the Congress leaders tried to visit the shrine.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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