Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was on Thursday detained for the third time in two days. Delhi Police picked him up from Jantar Mantar to prevent him from leading a protest march over the suicide of an ex-serviceman, allegedly due to his grievances in implementation of OROP.
Around 7 PM, Rahul was whisked away by police, first to 5 Firoz Shah Road and later to Tughlak Road Police Station where he was kept for over one hour.
The police action triggered sharp reactions from the Congress leadership which accused the Narendra Modi government of making a “mockery of democracy” and likened the situation to an “undeclared Emergency”.
Speaking to reporters after his release, Rahul claimed police refused to lodge his complaint over his detention. “If police refuses to accept the complaint of an MP, imagine the plight of the common man. How will they accept their complaints? Yeh Modi ji ka naya Hindustan hai (This is the new India of Modi,” Rahul said.
HIGHLIGHTS | Rahul Gandhi released after being detained during protest march
Police sources claimed that Rahul wanted to lodge a complaint of “kidnapping” against it, however, he “later changed his mind.”
Police also claimed that Rahul refused to get off the police vehicle at Firoz Shah Road, forcing them to take him to Tughlak Road Police Station.
“Rahul Gandhi was detained at Tolstoy Marg when he continued his candle march towards India Gate in spite of repeated requests not to proceed. He along with other leaders was brought to police station, Tuglak Road, and were released,” police said in a statement.
The police action enraged Congress leadership, prompting former Union minister Salman Khurshid, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and DPCC chief Ajay Maken to hit out at the Centre, under which the Delhi police functions.
Earlier, confusion prevailed on whether Rahul was detained or not as police kept on claiming that the Congress leader was not detained but merely taken away from the protest site keeping his security in mind.
Rahul, however, claimed in a tweet: “Was detained by Delhi police and taken away from Jantar Mantar.”
“Police vehicle was stopped at 5, Feroze Shah Road, enroute to Tughlak Road PS,” he tweeted.
At Firoz Shah Road, Rahul told reporters, “I have only one thing to say that the way the family was treated was wrong and it may affect the morale of the army. The police should at least apologise to the family. Prime Minister should apologise to the family, accept what he did was wrong and deliver OROP.
“The Prime Minister should act on 7th pay commission. He lied that OROP has been implemented. That’s why the gentleman killed himself. His family was disrespected and humiliated,” he said.
A police official said the action was taken keeping Rahul’s security in mind as the crowd at Jantar Mantar was swelling by the minute.
On Wednesday, Rahul was detained twice when he went to meet the family of Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide over the “non-implementation” of One Rank One Pension (OROP).
“It is a chaotic disruption for civil liberties. Delhi Police is behaving like a headless chicken, unclear about its duty, unclear about its authority. This whole episode is a mockery of democracy,” Surjewala said.