NEW DELHI, Jan 21: As the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra passed through Jamugurihat in Assam’s Sonitpur district on Sunday, a group of men carrying BJP flags attacked vehicles that were part of the Yatra.
The vehicle in which Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh was travelling was also came under attack, leaders of the Opposition party said. “My vehicle was attacked a few minutes ago at Jamugurihat, Sonitpur by an unruly BJP crowd who also tore off the Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra stickers from the windshield,” Ramesh said in a post on X.
“They threw water and shouted anti-BJNY (Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra) slogans. But we kept our composure, waved to the hooligans and sped away. This is undoubtedly the Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma’s doing. We are not intimidated and will soldier on,” he added in the post.
The incident happened soon after Rahul Gandhi at a roadside meeting alleged that Assam’s BJP-led government had been threatening people against joining the Yatra and also refusing permissions for programmes along the route. “But people are not afraid of the BJP,” Mr Gandhi claimed addressing a public gathering at Biswanath Chariali, the headquarters of Biswanath district.
At the gathering, Mr Gandhi said, “We don’t make long speeches as part of the Yatra. We travel every day for 7-8 hours, listen to your issues and our aim is to raise these issues.” He alleged that people were being threatened against joining the Yatra and permissions were being denied to hold programmes along its routes while flags and banners of the Congress were being damaged in the State.
The Yatra re-entered Assam through Biswanath from Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday morning. “They [government] think they can suppress the people. But they are not realising that this is not Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra. It is a Yatra for the voice of the people,” he said.
“Neither Rahul Gandhi nor the people of Assam are afraid of you. You can do whatever you want… When elections will come, Congress will defeat the BJP with massive margins,” he said. Mr Gandhi also continued to target Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, terming him the “most corrupt CM in the country.”
Soon after the report received about the Yatra being attacked by some BJP workers, Mr Sarma directed the police to look into the allegations. As vehicles of the Yatra started passing through the area where the men wielding flags were gathered, they tried to pull down a person who was in the first car to come through. They also snatched the camera of a journalist who was present at the site.
The men were still at the spot when the bus in which Rahul Gandhi was travelling passed through the area. They chanted “Modi, Modi” as the bus slowed down while passing them. From inside the bus, Rahul blew kisses at them.
Earlier in the morning, CM Sarma addressed a press conference and appealed to organisers of the Congress’s Yatra to not visit Batadrava Than – a pilgrimage site in Nagaon – on Monday (January 22) morning as scheduled. He said a visit to the site at the same time as the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya could show Assam in the wrong light, and that there should not be an image of competition between Batadrava Than and the Ram Temple.
Batadrava Than is the birthplace of Srimanta Sankardeva, a major religious and cultural figure in Assam. “We are happy that Rahul Gandhi will visit the Than, but tomorrow around 10,000 people will gather here. At that time we do not want Rahul Gandhi to come here, because there may be some difficulties in the process of welcoming him. Today the Karnadhar Committee of Batadrava Than Management Committee has decided that he can come tomorrow after 3 pm and we will be able to give him a grand welcome. We have already informed the local MLA, District Commissioner and SP,” Jogendra Narayan Dev Mahanta, president of Batadrava Than Management Committee, said.