Several Congress leaders were detained from outside Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on Wednesday where they launched protests against the Centre’s demonetisation move. The party was scheduled to hold demonstrations at the Reserve Bank of India office in the city, but they moved their agitation to the railway station after the Mumbai Police denied them permission to hold protests outside the RBI office.
“We have submitted a memorandum at the RBI’s headquarters in Mumbai. We demand restoration of the RBI’s autonomy,” Congress leader RS Surjewala told ANI. The party has accused the central government of “compromising the autonomy” of RBI and making it function like a branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The protests at CST were led by Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam. Former chief minister Narayan Rane, former minister Harshavardhan Patil and senior party leaders Suresh Shetty and Kripashankar Singh also participated in the agitations, during which Congress workers chanted slogans against the Narendra Modi government.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also said that the RBI had been reduced to a “rubber stamp of the government” and demanded RBI Governor Urjit Patel’s resignation. Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan told Hindustan Times that they would raise the issue again during the upcoming Budget Session.
The protests were part a countrywide agitation call by the Congress. Party leaders staged demonstrations outside RBI offices in Assam, Bengaluru, Chennai, Meghalaya, Odisha, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Congress leaders were detained in Gujarat, as well, reported IANS. The protests will continue till January 23.
In Delhi, scores of protesters, led by Anand Sharma and Ajay Maken, surrounded the RBI office to voice their opposition against the ”mismanagement” since the currency ban was introduced. They raised slogans and said that demonetisation was “carpet bombing” on the country’s economy.
In Assam, violence erupted after Congress supporters tried to break through the security barricade to enter the RBI premises, reported PTI. “The BJP government must realise that we will not stop protesting against Modi’s anti-people policy. They have deployed CRPF and SSB personnel to unleash violence on the Congress and women,” said Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Ripun Bora, who was arrested and later released.