Keep national security above politics: Kiren Rijiju’s advice to Rahul Gandhi

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NEW DELHI, August 29: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs (MoS, Home) Kiren Rijiju has urged Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi to keep national security interests above politics, a day after the latter expressed concerns over the arrests of five activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Rijiju said, “As Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had declared that Maoists are the 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,” MoS Home added.
Remarks from Rijiju came a day after Rahul 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.
Pune Police had on Tuesday raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested five of them – poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and Chhattisgarh and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi.
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalit and the upper caste groups at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad on December 31 last year.
A police official later said that the five arrested are suspected to have Maoist links and had allegedly funded the Elgar Parishad conclave.
The police have booked all the accused under Sections 153 A, 505(1) B,117,120 B,13,16,18,20,38,39,40 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Maharashtra government and the state’s police chief, saying “it appears” that standard operating procedure was not properly followed in the arrests of five activists and this may amount to a violation of their human rights.
The Maharashtra Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police have been asked to submit a ‘factual report’ in the matter within four weeks.
A senior official of the National Human Rights Commission said that the notices were sent after the rights panel took cognisance of the reports of arrests in multiple cities yesterday.
Apart from Rahul Gandhi, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also condemned the arrests, saying that it was a “blatant attack on democratic rights in the country,” and that it was worse than the declaration of the Emergency in 1975.
The Bhima Koregaon 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.
The police have booked all the accused under Sections 153 A, 505(1) B,117,120 B,13,16,18,20,38,39,40 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Apart from Gandhi, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also condemned the arrests, saying that it was a “blatant attack on democratic rights in the country,” and that it was worse than the declaration of the Emergency in 1975.
The Bhima Koregaon 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. (Agencies)