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Adhir Chowdhury writes to PM Modi, urges him to ensure due and legitimate space for Opposition

News Agencies | Updated on: 19 June 2022, 9:11 IST
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to ensure due and legitimate space for the Opposition.

In the letter to PM Modi, Chowdhury referred to the recent protests held by Congress workers against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) interrogation of party leader Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

He said that Delhi Police has been resorting to excessive and disproportionate forces to thwart the purpose of agitation being carried out by Congress.

"I am writing this letter with a lot of anguish and pain. The Congress party has been organizing a peaceful political demonstration to raise our voice against the politics of vendetta. But the Delhi Police has been resorting to excessive and disproportionate forces to thwart the purpose of agitation," the Congress leader said in a letter.

The Lok Sabha MP said Congress workers including people's representatives of parliament and state assemblies were beaten up mercilessly without any provocation that caused much humiliation of and a direct affront to the democratic ethos of our country.

Citing an example of Tamil Nadu MP S Jothi Mani, Chowdhury said, "It is much abominable to note that Our colleague, S Jothi Mani, Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu, was brutally assaulted by the Delhi Police during this agitation. Her clothes were torn down let alone physical and mental torture. She was detained in the Police Station till late evening."

He further alleged that on her way to the police station, the Tamil Nadu MP was not provided drinking water on the way to the police station and was also not allowed to purchase a water bottle.

The Congress leader also claimed that she was not provided with medical aid.

"Is this how a lady Member of Parliament is treated? Not providing drinking water and medical aid to an MP is extremely shameful and a clear case of human rights violation. As a result of the police beating, her health has deteriorated further and now she has been hospitalized in the Ram Manohar Lohiya Hospital, New Delhi," he said.

Chowdhury also accused the BJP government of not giving due respect to the Opposition's opinion.

"The core essence of democracy means freedom of speech and expression. However, this government is not giving due respect to opposition opinion. There is no opposition space worth it is name in India," he said.

He further said that it is a matter of serious concern that the law enforcement agencies forcefully entered the Congress Party office which is known as the headquarter of AICC and unleashed violence upon the party workers, raining lathi charges and dragging out our workers from the party office and thrown them into a police van in the full glare of the public.

"AICC is not far away from Parliament - the temple of democracy, and not far away from the residences of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister," he said.

Chowdhury also raised the point of India's slipping position in the democracy index's global ranking. He also raised concern over India's position in the global ranking of the democracy index.

"It is concerning that we as a nation have already gone down in the global ranking of democracy index," the Congress MP said.

"Sir, in this 75th year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, do not take away the opposition space. For a healthy democracy, you should ensure due and legitimate space for the opposition viewpoint as well. This will bring the necessary social cohesion in the society and will make democracy in India strong and vibrant," he added.

Congress leaders and MPs have been protesting in several states against their former president's questioning by the ED in a money-laundering case pertaining to the National Herald newspaper.

A delegation of Congress leaders is likely to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on June 20 and submit a memorandum on the issue of entry of Delhi Police into their party headquarters and the alleged misbehaviour with party MPs during protests.

Rahul Gandhi appeared before the ED for three days, sparking protests by Congress leaders across the country. The party, however, alleged that there was nothing in the case and it is a political vendetta.

Congress on Wednesday filed a complaint against the Delhi Police for entering and attacking party workers, without provocation, at 24 Akbar Road. The complaint was registered at Tughlak Road Police Station, New Delhi. Congress has alleged that its leaders have been manhandled during protests.

Rahul Gandhi was questioned in detail about the ownership of Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) by the Gandhi family and its shareholding pattern in Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper, said sources.

Investigators in the ED, sources said, had also asked Rahul Gandhi to describe the circumstances under which AJL was acquired by YIL in 2010, making it the owner of all assets owned by the National Herald newspaper.

The National Herald, started by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was published by the AJL. In 2010, the AJL, which faced financial difficulties, was taken over by a newly-floated YIL with Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as directors, both of them Gandhi loyalists.

In a complaint in the Delhi High Court, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy accused Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds.

Officials familiar with the probe said Rahul Gandhi is being asked questions about the takeover of the AJL by YIL since the Gandhis have stakes in the latter. The Congress leader is being questioned under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).


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First published: 19 June 2022, 9:11 IST