Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that no action was taken or first information report filed against those responsible in the Morbi bridge collapse incident as they had good relationship with the Bhratiya Janata Party, reported ANI.
“Only because they share a good relationship with BJP, nothing happened to them?” Gandhi asked at a rally in Gujarat’s Rajkot district. “They nabbed two watchmen and arrested them but did nothing against those actually responsible.”
The Congress leader, however, reiterated that the tragedy should not be politicised.
On October 30, a colonial-era bridge on the Machchu river had collapsed, killing 141 persons. The tragedy took place just four days after the bridge was reopened for the public following seven months of renovation.
The police have arrested two managers of Oreva Group, which was given the contract to manage the bridge, as well as two ticket clerks, two contractors and three security guards on charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Meanwhile, at a separate event in Mahuva town of Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district on Monday, Gandhi accused the BJP of making plans to displace Adivasis by handing over forest lands to industrialists, reported PTI.
This was Gandhi’s first rally in Gujarat ahead of the Assembly elections next month.
“They [the BJP] call you vanvasi [forest dwellers],” Gandhi said. “They do not say you are the first owners of India, but that you live in the jungles. Do you see the difference? It means they do not want you to live in cities, see your children becoming engineers, doctors, learn to fly planes, speak English.”
He added: “They want you to live in the jungles, but do not stop there. After that, they start taking away the jungles from you. If it continues like this, then in another 5 to 10 years, all the jungles will be in the hands of two to three industrialists, and you will have no place to live, get no education, health and job.”
Gandhi also said that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had introduced laws that benefited the Adivasis, but were not implemented by states ruled by the BJP.
In fact, they worked to weaken important legislations such as the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, the Land Acquisition Act and Forest Rights Act, among others, Gandhi alleged.
“These were revolutionary laws to return water, land and jungle to you,” he added. “We gave you MGNREGA [Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act], jobs, scholarships, rights on land. They [the BJP] did not do so...in fact they only took away your land from you.”