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Delhi Police Rejects Allegations Of Entering Cong HQ, Beating Workers
The Delhi Police said despite its suggestion to hold the protest at Jantar Mantar, the Congress leaders, showing "utter disregard to Supreme Court guidelines"
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The Delhi Police on Wednesday rejected as "totally false" the allegations that its personnel forcibly entered the Congress headquarters and beat up party workers and leaders on a day they staged protests against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The Delhi Police said despite its suggestion to hold the protest at Jantar Mantar, the Congress leaders, showing "utter disregard to Supreme Court guidelines", tried to create public disturbances in the area.
Police said some Congress leaders and workers pushed and manhandled the on-duty police personnel and damaged barricades.
"The allegations are totally false and we have denied them strongly," a senior police officer said. The Congress, however, shared video clips on social media platforms purportedly showing police personnel entering its office premises.
"We tried to stop them and close the gates of the AICC (All India Congress Committee) headquarters in order to prevent a procession from being taken out.
"In this process, there might have been some scrimmage, but police did not try to enter the AICC headquarters and they had no reason to do so either," the officer said.
The Congress staged vociferous protests in Delhi on Wednesday, the third day of Gandhi's questioning by the ED in a money-laundering case.
"They (Congress workers and leaders) were not listening to the police. We had been telling them for three days that no procession would be allowed. We had been giving them a chance to hold their protest at the designated place at Jantar Mantar.
"Adequate force has been deployed in the New Delhi area and near the ED office. Senior officers are also present at the spot. We told the Congress leaders that we will facilitate them, but they were bringing other people also in the form of a procession and we stopped them and told them that the procession will not be allowed," the officer said.
According to a police statement, for the last three days, senior Congress leaders were repeatedly informed that any kind of procession and protest is allowed only at designated areas in accordance with the Supreme Court's guidelines.
Police said orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) are also in force, prohibiting such gatherings in the New Delhi area, and banners to this effect have been placed at various conspicuous places.
According to the statement, various sources informed the police that the Congress party was again planning to take out a procession from its headquarters at 24, Akbar Road to the ED office on Wednesday by mobilising a large number of people from Delhi and neighbouring states.
"Despite the suggestions of the Delhi Police to have the protest at Jantar Mantar, the INC leaders, with utter disregard of the Supreme Court guidelines and our suggestions, have again and again tried to create public disturbances in the area.
"Today, again some workers of the INC tried to take out a procession from the party office and were prevented by the police personnel present there from assembling unauthorisedly. Some of the miscreants burnt tyres and damaged police barricades, which led to traffic congestion and inconvenience to the commuters," the statement said.
"Police tried to prevent the situation from deteriorating while maintaining utmost restraint," it added.
According to the statement, some Congress leaders and workers pushed and manhandled the on-duty police personnel and damaged barricades.
"However, their movement was subsequently checked and as per the information received so far, around 240 functionaries and workers of the INC, including four members of the Lok Sabha and one member of the Rajya Sabha, have been detained under section 65 of the DP Act for violation of lawful directions of police," the statement said.
A total of 33 woman protesters were detained and subsequently released. Intimation regarding the detention of the MPs and MLAs is being sent to the respective competent authorities, police said.
Some police personnel also sustained injuries during the mob-controlling exercise but they maintained utmost restraint and preserved peace by effectively handling the situation. Some miscreants also burnt tyres near the "Q" point, which created panic among the public and caused traffic snarls on the busy road. Suitable legal action is being taken for such illegal acts of the Congress leaders and supporters, the statement said.
The Congress has demanded that an FIR for "criminal trespass" be registered, the erring police personnel suspended and disciplinary action initiated against them.
"In an act of absolute goondaism perpetuated by the Delhi Police at the instance of the (Narendra) Modi government, the police on Wednesday forcibly entered the national headquarters of the Congress here and beat up party workers and leaders. This is patently criminal trespass. The goondaism of the Delhi Police and the Modi government has reached its zenith," Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
He said the party's state units would gherao Raj Bhawans across the country on Thursday morning against the police action.
Gandhi appeared before the ED for the third consecutive day on Wednesday to answer questions in connection with the agency's probe in the National Herald money-laundering case.