Protest erupts in Assam, Tripura over Sonia Gandhi's ED questioning

Guwahati: Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah, a host of party MLAs, and several party leaders were detained by police on Thursday when they staged a protest against the questioning of Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

Raising slogans and slamming the BJP-led government, the Congress leaders and scores of workers tried to march along the arterial Guwahati-Shillong Road from the state party headquarters Rajiv Bhawan near Bhangagarh area.

Anticipating such a move by the opposition party, the Guwahati Police had already put up a strong contingent of personnel and erected barricades just outside the Rajiv Bhawan to prevent them from proceeding to the local ED office in Rajgarh area.

Borah and others were seen climbing the barricade to cross over to the other side. The police then dragged him and pushed him inside a bus.

When other Congress leaders also tried to break the barricade and move ahead, police detained dozens of leaders and workers, but later released them, a senior official said.

Along with Borah, MLAs Jakir Hussain Sikdar, Nandita Das, Digant Barman, and Rekibuddin Ahmed, state functionaries, office bearers of sister organisations, and scores of general workers were bundled in several buses and detained for a few hours.

“We are not going to bow down to such pressure tactics. This vindictive attitude of the BJP government is not acceptable. Our protest will be intensified if such repressive measures are not stopped,” Borah told reporters here.

He accused Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of using the police force to protect the interests of the ruling party and suppressing peaceful democratic protests.

Meanwhile, the Congress also protested outside the ED office near Barjala in West Tripura district over the questioning of party president Sonia Gandhi by the agency.

Alleging “vendetta politics” of the BJP-led government at the Centre, hundreds of Congress workers raised slogans and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“The ED summoned Sonia Gandhi in a false case as part of BJP’s dirty politics. This is a ploy to divert the people’s attention from the problems of price rise, GST, crisis in the farming sector, joblessness and steep fall in the value of rupee,” MLA Sudip Roy Barman said.

The ED on Thursday recorded the statement of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for two hours in the National Herald money laundering case and ended the session for the day on her request as she is recovering from Covid.

The probe relates to alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper.

To protest the move, the AICC had asked all its state units to stage demonstrations in front of ED offices to garner people’s support.

Also read | Tripura’s GST collection more than doubled in 5 years: DyCM

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