Two BJP leaders and as many workers were arrested on Tuesday by the Assam Police in connection with the clash outside the Congress headquarters here.
The police arrested BJP leader Vijay Gupta from Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport when he was on his way to New Delhi, while party spokesman Rupam Goswami and two party workers Diganta Kalita and Pranabjyoti Lahkar were taken into custody on Tuesday morning.
Reacting to the arrests, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal alleged that the Assam Police were acting as an agent of the Congress government in the State by arresting the BJP leaders and harassing its workers in connection with the clash outside Rajiv Bhavan yesterday.
“The arrests clearly prove that the police are acting on behalf of the Congress, which is highly condemnable,” Mr. Sonowal, who is also the Assam BJP president, told reporters here.
The BJP had filed an FIR against the attack on its workers by the Congressmen in the incident yesterday but no action has so far been taken on it, he claimed.
The Congress, Mr. Sonowal said, has taken the “condemnable step of harassing our party workers with the help of the police. The police had gone to our office without informing the party functionaries and also raided the houses of some of our leaders and workers last night. We will not tolerate such undemocratic action by the police and BJP will soon chalk out an action plan to protest against this,” he said.
Asserting that the BJP would continue to protest against the “objectionable remarks” against Union Minister Smriti Irani by Congress MLA Nilamani Sendeka, he demanded that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi apologise in public for it.
“The BJP respects women as they are creators and we will not tolerate any disrespect to any of our mothers or sisters, particularly in Assam as this is not a part of our culture,” Mr. Sonowal added.
Earlier, BJP’s Assam unit’s vice-president Santanu Bharali alleged that the police had registered suo moto cases against the BJP members and arrested them.
“This was done while we (BJP) had filed an FIR naming some persons, but they (police) refused to take any action against them. Police harassment of BJP workers will in no way be tolerated as we are a democratic party which believes in the Constitution and the law of the land,” he said, adding that the party would stage protests in all district headquarters on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. against the arrests.
On yesterday’s incident, he said: “We had gone to Nilamani Sendeka’s house yesterday to protest against his remarks about Ms Irani and while returning from there we were attacked by the Congress workers outside Rajiv Bhawan.”
Criticising Mr. Gogoi for calling the BJP a “party of murderers”, he said it was condemnable and a senior leader like him should not “stoop so low”. “He (Gogoi) is in politics and should refrain from making such remarks which will affect his image before the younger generation.” - PTI