Indian Youth Congress President BV Srinivas was on Wednesday manhandled by the Delhi Police while he was protesting against the questioning of MP Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money-laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper.
A video shared on social media showed Srinivas being dragged away by several police officers and kicked by one of the officials on the way.
Around 800 Congress members have been detained since Monday for holding demonstrations, the police said. Congress leaders have said that the Enforcement Directorate’s questioning of Gandhi for three consecutive days amounts to “vendetta politics” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Social media users criticised the police action against the Congress leaders. Srinivas had gained prominence for helping citizens during the brutal second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that ripped through India last year.
“The same Srinivas who fought for you against Covid-19 while Modi and team were missing in action, denying reality and praising themselves,” Congress leader Salman Anees Soz wrote on Twitter sharing the video. “The same Srinivas.”
Congress General Secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal asked if this is how the police should behave. “BJP has truly killed Indian democracy,” he added. “It doesn’t get darker than this.”
On Wednesday, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also shared a video of party MP Jothimani on Twitter, in which she alleged that she was “brutally assaulted” by the Delhi Police.
The MP from Tamil Nadu’s Karur told Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that officials tore her clothes, removed her shoes and “carried her like a criminal” in a bus along with other women protestors.
In the video, Jothimani said that the police also refused to give water to them. “When we are trying to buy it from outside, they are telling sellers not to give water to us,” she alleged.
Moreover, the Congress on Wednesday alleged that Delhi Police personnel forcibly entered its headquarters on Akbar Road and thrashed party workers and leaders.
The party sought registration of a first information report against all the Delhi Police officers who had beaten up workers without any provocation by barging into its premises, IANS reported.
“The goondaism and Delhi Police has reached its zenith,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press conference soon after the incident. “We are protesting in a democratic way but this goondaism will not be tolerated. It will be accounted for. Let all the police officers who are acting as puppets of the Narendra Modi government in order to please their masters know this will not go unpunished.”
Later, the party filed a complaint at the Tughlaq Road police station.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who suffered an injury in his left rib after he was manhandled by the police during the protest on Monday, said the action at the headquarters was an “outrageous violation of liberty”.