Cong's Chowdhury alleges 'forces within govt' behind Red Fort incident, demands JPC probe

·5-min read

New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The Congress on Monday alleged in Lok Sabha that the government had sent 'vandals' to the Red Fort to 'desecrate' the monument and defame the ongoing farmers' agitation, and demanded that a JPC probe be held to uncover the 'big conspiracy'.

Participating in the debate on the motion thanking the President for his address to Parliament, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also demanded a similar investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the alleged TRP scam and purported chats of a television anchor that have allegedly been linked to the Balakot airstrikes.

Chowdhury asked the government as to why it was 'so much afraid' of a teenaged climate-activist, Greta Thunberg, that it engaged the whole machinery to counter her tweets supporting the farmers' agitation against the three agricultural laws.

'With such a strong Home Minister like Amit Shah, how can some people reach the Red Fort, that too on January 26 when the highest level of security was in place in Delhi.

'Why isn't there a proper investigation into it. It is actually a big, well-planned conspiracy to defame the farmers. The fact is that you have sent some vandals to the Red Fort to create vandalism. Forces within the government are behind it,' he alleged.

He was referring to the Republic Day incident during the farmers' tractor rally when hundreds of protesters had stormed the Red Fort, hoisted a religious flag on the ramparts and clashed with the police.

The Congress leader said a JPC probe should be instituted so that it can go into the details of the alleged conspiracy and find out the truth.

'You have trapped the farmers. You have filed cases one after another against the farmers. You want to create fear among the farmers.

'You want to create a rift between Punjab and other states,' he claimed in the House when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were in attendance.

Chowdhury likened the current situation in Delhi with Kabul, Baghdad and Syria, saying that barricades, barbed wire and nails have been put in and around the sites of the farmer protests at Delhi's borders.

'The whole world is discussing about India. Your action is bringing disrepute to India. Why are you so much afraid of an 18-year-old Greta (Thunberg). Why are you making Greta persona non grata? You have misguided (former test captain) Sachin Tendulkar, (music legend) Lata Mangeshkar,' he said, referring to Tendulkar and Mangeshkar's tweets.

Chowdhury alleged that the central government had earlier conspired against the Muslims and now against the farmers.

'Farmers are at Delhi's borders. More than 200 farmers have lost their lives. Why is the prime minister not talking to them? Why this arrogance? You have a majority and you are trying to bulldoze through your majority. Don't insult the farmers, don't wage a war against the farmers. Are they your enemy?' he said, lashing out at the Modi government.

The Congress leader said that the government did not convene the winter session citing the coronavirus pandemic.

'We should not be afraid of debate. Dissent, disagreement and dialogue are the hallmarks of our civilisation,' he said.

Taking a dig at BJP leaders, Chowdhury said it is one thing to take someone's name and it is another matter to practically follow his idealogy.

'The BJP is bereft of any national icon. You are borrowing the national icons. There is nothing wrong in borrowing. But try to understand and comprehend these icons. You often take the name of Netaji (Subhas Chandra Bose). But why not take the names of (Jawaharlal) Nehru or Indira Gandhi. This reflects your pettiness,' he claimed.

Referring to the purported Whatsapp chat between television anchor Arnab Goswami and former CEO of the BARC Partho Dasgupta, the Congress leader questioned as to how television anchor was 'aware' of a possible airstrike on terrorist camp at Balakot in Pakistan days before the actual operation had happened.

'It is a serious issue. Such a sensitive matter could be known to only the prime minister, home minister, defence minister or the NSA. But, how come a journalist would know about it. There should be a JPC probe into the TRP scam,' he said.

Secrecy still shrouds the Balakot operation, Chowdhury said, alleging that it was reported that the action was taken keeping in mind electoral benefits.

BJP's Nishikant Dubey cited rules and demanded that the members authenticate their remarks on Whatsapp chats with references to national security and Balakot.

Meenakashi Lekhi, who was presiding over the proceedings, said it is up to the members to authenticate. 'And post that, whether it goes or record will be tested,' she said.

Republic Media Network had earlier hit out at the Congress over its allegations that the purported WhatsApp chats of Goswami point to breach of national security and violations of the Official Secrets Act, and claimed that the party was peddling 'falsehoods'.

Chowdhury also took a swipe at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, saying he is not much aware of the developments and asked him why parts of Rafale fighter jets are not being manufactured in India.

The Congress leader also asked the government to come clean on China's alleged transgressions into Indian territories and noted that the prime minister had asserted that nobody had intruded into the country.

Chinese soldiers should be held by their necks and thrown out of Indian territories, he said. PTI ACB KR NAB RT RT