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Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra: Rahul Gandhi Says Will Not be ‘Intimidated’ by Assam CM’s ‘Disruptions’

Himanta Biswa Sarma directed the Assam police to lodge an FIR against Gandhi for ‘provoking the crowd’ on Tuesday after Congress workers clashed with the police near Guwahati and removed barricades that had been placed to stopping the yatra
Rahul Gandhi in Manipur on day two of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. Photo: By arrangement.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has said that he will not be “intimidated” by “disruptions” to his ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Assam and accused chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of acting on the directions of union home minister Amit Shah.

“What the Assam chief minister is doing is benefitting us,” he said while addressing a press conference on Tuesday.

“The publicity that we would have possibly not have got, we are getting now because of the actions of the Assam chief minister and perhaps behind him is Amit Shah. So the main issue in Assam right now has become the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. As far as not allowing us to go to the temple or the college or stopping our padyatra- This is their style, their intimidation tactics. We don’t get intimidated. It is benefitting us that the message of nyay is spreading to every village. Because the people are asking: ‘Why is Rahul Gandhi being stopped from visiting temples and colleges?’” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the yatra which had started out from Meghalaya was blocked near Guwahati where the police had placed barricades to stop its movement. Congress workers clashed with the police and removed the barricades.

The Congress alleged that in the clash Assam Congress chief Bhupen Borah had sustained serious injuries. Borah was also injured on Sunday when a group of BJP supporters allegedly attacked Congress MP and general secretary media in-charge Jairam Ramesh’s vehicle.

Addressing a gathering there, Gandhi said that while Congress workers had removed the barricades, they would not break the law.

“The Assam chief minister can break the law, the Union home minister can break the law, the PM can break the law but Congress workers will not break the law. But don’t consider us to be weak. Look at your barricades, we have broken them and set them aside. This is the strength of the Congress worker. You are ‘Babbar Sher’ (lion). Don’t consider yourself to be weak,” he said.

The Congress has also alleged that he had a scheduled interaction with students of the University of Science and Technology (UTSM), Meghalaya which was cancelled on the directions of the Assam chief minister and the intervention of Shah.

“Whether Rahul Gandhi comes or doesn’t come is not important but what is important is that you are allowed to listen to anybody that you want to listen to,” Gandhi said to students from atop the bus in which he is conducting the yatra.

“This is not taking place only in Assam. This is taking place in every single university, college and school in India-you are being told that you must blindly obey the RSS and the leadership of this country. You are being told that you should not have your own imagination.”

Meanwhile Sarma has directed the Assam DGP to lodge an FIR against Gandhi for “provoking the crowd.” 

In response to a video of Congress workers removing the barricades earlier in the day, Sarma wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “These are not part of Assamese culture. We are a peaceful state. Such “naxalite tactics” are completely alien to our culture.”

“Your unruly behaviour and violation of agreed guidelines have resulted in a massive traffic jam in Guwahati now,” he wrote.

In a separate tweet with a video of Gandhi’s speech, Sarma said that “evidence is emerging” about how Gandhi had instigated the crowd to “kill Assam Police personnel.”

“Our soldiers are servants of the public, not of any royal family. Rest assured, the law has a very long arm and will definitely reach you,” he said.

The yatra which started in Manipur’s Thoubal on January 14, has seen heated exchanges between the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam. On Monday, Gandhi was stopped from visiting the Batadrava Than following which he sat on the road for about two hours along with his supporters who sang “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram”. Prior to that, on Sunday, BJP supporters with saffron flags surrounded Gandhi’s convoy and raised slogans, and allegedly attacked Ramesh’s vehicle.

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