Guwahati : BJP today protested in front of the Congress headquarters here demanding the arrest of Congress MLA Nilamoni Sendeka for making derogatory remarks against Union Minister Smriti Irani.
BJP workers gheraoed Deka’s residence demanding that he be handed over to them, but when they did not find him there, they went to Congress headquarters Rajiv Bhavan on learning that he was there for the party’s foundation day programme, police said.
They demanded that Sendeka be handed over to them before 4 pm today for his remarks at a public meeting yesterday against Irani and be immediately arrested. They also asked Congress to expelled him from the party.
Amidst claims by both sides that sticks had been wielded and stones thrown which caused injury to some, police were called in.
However, as the situation turned worse and traffic was disrupted on the arterial G S Road, where the Congress headquarters is located, police burst tear gas shells.
Congress leaders claimed before Guwahati Police Commissioner Mukesh Agarwal at the site that delay in police action had led the situation to turn violent. They also claimed that BJP workers had thrown stones at them but those from the Congress had remained peaceful.
Congress workers were seen wearing helmets with sticks in their hands and standing behind the gates of Rajiv Bhavan.
When contacted, BJP said its workers were not involved in any violence and had held peaceful demonstrations against Sendeka.
Assam PCC chief spokesman Ripun Bora had yesterday denounced Sendeka’s comment and said it was his personal view and the party was in no way connected with it.
He had said APCC would investigate and ask Sendeka under what circumstance he had made the comment.
Later, an FIR was lodged alleging that BJP members had
indulged in vandalism, injured 27 Congress leaders and damaged three vehicles, police said.
Speaking to newsmen, APCC president Anjan Dutta claimed that BJP workers were armed with machetes and bamboo sticks to attack Congress workers.
“They (BJP workers) threw stones and injured 25 Congress leaders, including seven seriously and damaged three vehicles,” he said.
“Nilomoni Sendeka yesterday itself apologised for his remarks against Irani and took back his allegations. After he has apologised why resort to violence? But BJP made an issue out of it.
“The attack was made under the leadership of (BJP state unit president and Union Minister) Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma with their goonda bahini (goons). Does Sonowal think it is Assam agitation?” he asked.
Sonowal was a past president of the All Assam Students Union that spearheaded the anti-foreigners movement.
He said Congress has urged Guwahati police commissioner to find out how the protest rally was taken without police permission.
“I ask Sonowal whether BJP protested when its leader Subramanian Swamy made derogatory remarks against women,” Dutta asked.