New Delhi: The Congress Party on Friday condemned Thursday’s detention of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Madhya Pradesh, dubbing the whole incident as ‘undemocratic’.
Congress leader and former union minister A.K. Antony said that by apprehending Gandhi and other Congress leaders, the Madhya Pradesh Government had violated the fundamental rights apprised by the Constitution of India.
“The Madhya Pradesh Government’s reaction of preventing Rahul Gandhi from visiting Mandsaur is totally undemocratic. It is against fundamental rights. Rahul Gandhi has the right as citizen of India to visit Madhya Pradesh and to express his solidarity with suffering farmers and those families who lost their loved ones,” he added.
Antony sought the government’s intervention and warned that the situation could take a turn for the worse and have an impact across the nation.
Another Congress leader Meem Afzal said, “This is very condemnable that the government is stalling Rahul Gandhi wherever he goes. Through such actions, the government is adding fuel to the incumbent situation. Such actions will aggravate farmers. Rahulji had gone to Madhya Pradesh to console the farmers. This should not have happened.”
Gandhi was detained yesterday in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which says that a detention order can be carried out if a person or persons is or are “Knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse.”
The IPC section further states that, “Whoever knowingly joins or continues in any assembly of five or more persons (and is) likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace, after such assembly has been lawfully commanded to disperse, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.”
Gandhi was detained while heading towards Mandsaur to meet the families of the deceased farmers. He was later granted bail after which he met the family members of the deceased farmers and interacted with them.
Mandsaur district has been tense following a farmers protest over their demand for better remunerative prices for their produce and a farm loan waiver.
This unfortunately took an ugly turn earlier on Tuesday when five farmers were killed and eight others were injured in police firing.
Internet services in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Ujjain were also suspended following the farmers’ protests, and a curfew was reportedly imposed.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a compensation of Rs. one crore each to the victims’ families and Rs. five lakh for the injured.
In a video message, Chouhan also promised a government job to each of the victims’ kin.