Madhya Pradesh: Youth Congress attract police action over Harda

Unemployment, atrocities against women, no MSP for wheat, legalised online betting were other points of the protest; Kerala saw a similar rally

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Jitu Patwari (photo: @jitupatwari/X)
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Jitu Patwari (photo: @jitupatwari/X)

NH Digital

Youth Congress workers on Tuesday, 13 February, tried to climb the barricades during a street protest as they marched to the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. The police detained 40 to 50 of them, an official said, and used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the rest.

The protest was to highlight issues like unemployment, the Harda firecracker factory blast and atrocities against women.

Currently, the state Assembly is sitting for the budget session underway. This, and the recent massive blast and blaze at the fireworks unit in Harda on 6 February, which claimed 13 lives and left more than 200 people injured, account for the timing of the protest.

The protesters—led by state Congress president Jitu Patwari as well as Umang Singhar, who is the leader of the opposition in the Assembly, Youth Congress national president Sriniwas B.V. and state youth wing chief Vikrant Bhuria—marched towards the Vidhan Sabha from the state party office, raising slogans on the various issues.

However, the police barricaded the road leading to the Vidhan Sabha to prevent the protesters from reaching it. When Patwari and others tried to cross the barricades by climbing over them, the police used water cannons and fired tear-gas shells to disperse them, said additional commissioner of police Awdhesh Goswami, adding that 40–50 Youth Congress members were taken into custody.

Talking to reporters after being detained by the police, Patwari said, "The government had promised to provide 2 lakh jobs and employment to every household, but it has instead legalised online betting. Have parents voted for them to enable children to play betting games?"

The government should be ashamed of itself as it had called its manifesto 'Gita' and 'Ramayan', but it has now permitted online gaming and betting, he said.

Patwari further claimed that the government had failed to deliver its promise of giving Rs 2,700 MSP for wheat.

"Farmers are being arrested in the country. Is this Prime Minister Narendra Modi's guarantee?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Youth Congress activists took out a protest march to the Kerala Assembly as well on Tuesday, 13 February, which led to some tense moments and disruption of traffic in the state capital as the police blocked them using barricades.

A large number of party workers, led by their state president Rahul Mamkootathil, marched to the Assembly complex, accusing the Left government of not distributing social welfare pensions to the beneficiaries.

Holding party flags in their hands, the activists marched, raising slogans against the Pinarayi Vijayan government. However, police blocked the march midway by placing barricades. As the protesters tried to jump over the barricades and pull them down, here too the police used water cannons to disperse them.

In turn, the protestors threw their flags and sticks at the law enforcers. A minor scuffle broke out between the police and protesters as a result, but senior leaders brought the situation under control and called on the activists to withdraw and disengage, returning the protest to a relatively peaceful one.

However, some protesters were seen suffering from the back-to-back onslaught of the water cannons.

With PTI inputs

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