Congress, BJP spar over Bhima Koregaon raids; Rijiju counters Rahul on Maoists
New Delhi, Aug 29: A day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi raised concerns over the arrests of five activists over the Bhima Koregaon violence; Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, on Wednesday asked the grand old party's chief to keep national security interests above politics.
The nationwide crackdown on activists, advocates and human rights defenders in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence has sparked a slugfest between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Rijiju said, "As Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had declared that Maoists are No.1 threat to India's internal security. Now the Congress president openly supports the front organisations and sympathisers of the Maoists." "Keep national security above politics," Rijiju added.
There is only place for one NGO in India- RSS: Rahul
On Tuesday, Gandhi took a dig at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and questioned the arrest of five activists by the Pune Police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case.
"There is only place for one NGO in India and it's called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India. #BhimaKoregaon," the Gandhi scion tweeted.
This is not the India that Gandhiji fought to free, says Tharoor
Condemning the police raids on prominent Left-wing activists in several states, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wedesday said that freedom of thought, belief and expression are fundamental rights must be protected in any democracy.
Taking to twitter Tharoor wrote: " I have no sympathy whatsoever for Maoism but freedom of thought, belief and expression are fundamental rights in any democracy. To arrest activists who have neither committed nor facilitated violence is to betray our democracy."
"This is not the India that Gandhiji fought to free," he added.
Chidambaram condemns Bhima Koregaon raids
Taking to twitter, Senior Congress leader Chidambaram wrote: "I will strongly disagree with those who hold extreme left or extreme right views, but I will defend his right to hold that view. That is the essence of freedom."
"Anyone holding extreme views is punishable only if he indulges in violence or incites violence or aids and abets violence in support of his ideology," he added.
"I condemn the arrests of human rights activists,"he further said.
They would have arrested Gandhi: Ramachandra Guha
Meanwhile, Author and historian Ramachandra Guha has lashed out at the government over the arrest of several activists across the country.
"As a biographer of Gandhi, I have no doubt that if the Mahatma was alive today, he would don his lawyer's robes and defend Sudha Bharadwaj in court; that is assuming the Modi Sarkar hadn't yet detained and arrested him too," said Guha in a tweet.
Multiple arrests in Bhima-Koregaon case
Maharashtra police raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Faridabad and other places and arrested at least five of them for suspected Maoist links, sparking a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders.
Activists Varavara Rao and Sudha Bhardwaj were detained in Hyderabad and Faridabad respectively and Gautam Navlakha was arrested from Delhi.
The violence erupted while observing the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in January. A youth died and several others, including 10 policemen, were injured in the violence.