Karnataka: 5 held as Congress protest over ED interrogation of Sonia Gandhi turns violent

Congress leaders accused the BJP-led Central government of using probe agencies to stifle the voice of the Opposition. 

BySaurav Kumar

Published Jul 21, 2022 | 10:28 PMUpdatedJul 28, 2022 | 2:54 PM

Around 3000 Congress party workers participated in protest rally against BJP in Bengaluru. (Saurav Kumar / South First)

The protest call of the Karnataka Congress on 21 July against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoning party chief Sonia Gandhi took a violent turn in Bengaluru.

A few Congress workers burnt two cars near the ED office in Bengaluru’s Shanthinagar. The cars were owned by the Congress workers.

The Bengaluru City Police have arrested five people in connection with this incident.

The police also arrested several leaders who tried to march toward the Raj Bhavan.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) staged a protest at Bengaluru’s Freedom Park against the summoning of Sonia.

This was part of a nationwide agitation by the Congress, something for which even parties from South Inda joined hands.

Congress leaders accused the BJP-led Central government of using investigative agencies — like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income-Tax (I-T) Department, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) — to curb the voice of the Opposition.

Around 3,000 workers of the Congress, Mahila Morcha, and the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) participated in the protest called by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).

Leader of Opposition Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah, KPCC president DK Shivakumar, AICC Karnataka state secretary in-charge Abhishek Dutt, KPCC working president Eshwara Khandre, former Cabinet minister Krishna Byre Gowda, and former Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar also participated in the protest.

Slamming BJP government and agencies

Dutt told party workers: “The ED summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi without framing charges in the case. It is a clear case of harassment and political vendetta. The Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using the ED, I-T Department, and the CBI to attack the Congress leadership.”

He added, “On Independence Day, the Congress will mobilise party workers, supporters, and all democratic, secular forces to participate in a rally to save the Constitution of India.”

Siddaramaiah slammed the Central government’s efforts to intimidate Sonia Gandhi and said, “There is no criminal act and no FIR has been registered in the National Herald case. This proves that the Modi government is targeting Opposition leaders.”

Leader of Opposition Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah participating in protest rally in Bengaluru. (Saurav Kumar/South First)

Leader of Opposition Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah participating in protest rally in Bengaluru. (Saurav Kumar/South First)

He added: “Instead of questioning Congress leaders, the Central agencies should take cognisance and act against the BJP state governments who are running the corrupt machinery.”

Shivakumar said, “It is not Sonia Gandhi alone replying to the ED. It is the voice of every Congress worker. All of us are with the Gandhis.”

Byre Gowda told party workers: “The National Herald case is a tool to harass Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.”

He added, “The BJP government has misused Central agencies against people like Father Stan Swamy and Sudha Bharadwaj to stifle democratic voices and movements.”

Congress leaders in Karnataka have also felt the heat of investigating agencies.

Congress MLA and former minister Zameer Ahmed Khan was raided by the state’s ACB in the first week of July.