Congress workers on Monday allegedly beat up and chased away protesters at Salon during Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Amethi. The party went on to accuse the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being behind the protest.
The protesters, armed with posters and placards, were demanding answers about the promises that Rahul had made earlier to the people of Amethi. These included issues such as the promised railway line from Unchahar in Rae Bareli to Gauriganj in Amethi and the restoration of the Vespa factory.
According to eyewitnesses, seconds before Rahul’s convoy arrived, some workers wearing Gandhian caps requested those protesting to lift their demonstration. But they refused and soon, more people arrived on the spot with lathis and started chasing away the protesters. All this happened in the presence of policemen. Before they could intervene, many protesters were allegedly beaten up.
Rahul’s fleet arrived amidst the clash. Eyewitnesses said by then, police had taken control of the situation and his vehicle was not stopped. Later in the day, some protesters filed a complaint at the Salon police station against the Congress leaders and workers.
Akhilesh Pratap Singh, who was accompanying Rahul, said: “It was not a protest by the people but a show of frustration of a senior office-bearer of a party, whose representative was camping in Amethi for the last few days just to plan such things. They had the support of the government. They were chased away by Rahul Gandhi’s family — the people of Amethi.”
BJP MLA from Salon, Dal Bahadur Kori, however, said: “The BJP had nothing to do with the protest. In a democracy, the people always ask their leaders questions and here they wanted to ask their MP about things done in the last 15 years. The people question me as well, but we do not chase away or beat them up.”
Later in the day, Kori visited the Salon police station with protesters and sought action against Congress leaders.
“I was at a function when some people called me to say that they were being beaten up… they asked me to save them as I was their MLA,” he said.
“Everyone saw the Congress leaders involved in the incident… I would ask them to identify BJP leaders. They would not be able to do so, as there were none,” he added while alleging that Congress MLC Deepak Singh was part of the group that beat up the protesters.