Tensions Flare as Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra Faces Security Concerns in Assam

The ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, has encountered a fresh set of challenges in Assam, raising concerns about security lapses and potential political motives. This development comes amidst a war of words between the Congress and the BJP, with each side accusing the other of orchestrating incidents that threaten the safety of Gandhi and his supporters.

Congress Raises Security Concerns for Rahul Gandhi

Following the registration of a case against Gandhi and other Congress leaders for allegedly instigating violence against the Guwahati police, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge penned a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. In the letter, Kharge expressed concerns about the “security issues” faced by Gandhi during the Assam leg of the Yatra. He highlighted several instances where he felt the Assam Police failed to provide adequate security for Gandhi, who is entitled to Z+ security cover.

Specific Allegations Against Assam Police

Kharge’s letter detailed specific incidents where he believed the Assam Police fell short in their duties. These included:

  • Amguri, Sibsagar district: On the first day of the Yatra in Assam, the police were accused of focusing on protecting BJP posters instead of ensuring the Yatra’s safe passage.
  • Lakhimpur district: “Miscreants associated with the BJP” were allegedly caught defacing and removing Yatra posters and hoardings.
  • Sonitpur district: Upon returning from Arunachal Pradesh, the Yatra faced “another outrageous attack.” The local Superintendent of Police, reportedly the brother of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, was accused of inaction while BJP workers attacked and manhandled the Yatra’s social media team and General Secretary Jairam Ramesh. Additionally, BJP workers allegedly blocked Gandhi’s convoy and physically assaulted the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President.
  • Nagaon district: BJP workers allegedly blocked Gandhi’s convoy, coming dangerously close to him and creating an unsafe situation.

Kharge’s Appeal to Home Minister

Kharge emphasized that the Assam Police “systematically stood by and/or allowed BJP workers” to breach Gandhi’s security cordon, endangering his safety and that of his team. He expressed concern about the lack of arrests despite available evidence and the absence of investigations in some instances.

In his letter, Kharge urged Shah to intervene and ensure that the Chief Minister of Assam and the Director General of Police take necessary measures to prevent any future incidents that could lead to harm to Gandhi or Yatra participants.

Congress General Secretary Shares Letter

Rahul Gandhi

Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary, shared Kharge’s letter on social media, highlighting the “serious security issues” faced by Gandhi and the Yatra in Assam. This move further amplified the Congress party’s concerns and brought the issue to wider public attention.

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BJP’s Response

The BJP has countered the Congress’ allegations, claiming that the party is resorting to “drama” and “playing the victim card.” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma asserted that the state government has provided adequate security for the Yatra and accused the Congress of creating unnecessary chaos. He also questioned the legitimacy of Kharge’s claims and defended the actions of the Assam Police.

Current Standoff and Potential Implications

The current situation in Assam has created a tense atmosphere, with both the Congress and the BJP locked in a political battle. The alleged security lapses raise concerns about the safety of Gandhi and his supporters and could potentially impact the future course of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The intervention of the Union Home Minister and a thorough investigation into the alleged incidents are crucial to de-escalate the situation and ensure the Yatra’s smooth progress through Assam.

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