BJP’s ‘Congress office gherao’ march in Guwahati without permission; police fails to enforce Section 144
GUWAHATI: While to all appearances the city police have done well to avert a major brawl between the workers of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress Party on 19th December when the BJP wanted to gherao the Congress party’s office located at Rajiv Bhawan in Bhangagarh, it surely failed to enforce Section 144 which was imposed in the city recently. The gherao was planned to protest against Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s alleged derogatory remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his role in the Rafale deal.
Commissioner of Police, Guwahati, Pradeep Saloi talking to G Plus said, “All the parties violated Section 144.” He talked to G Plus on 21st December when the Congress activists burnt effigies of Assam BJP president Ranjit Dass and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal; he was referring to both BJP and Congress.
The commissioner also reiterated that none of the political parties took the requisite permission from the district administration which otherwise is a mandatory requirement for holding rallies, public meetings, processions etc.
The police claimed that on 19th December, the BJP took out the rally from Hengrabari and before reaching Bhangagarh, the procession was stopped by the police. But the rally was so huge that entire city came to a standstill.
In brief, “Section 144 confers powers to issue an order absolute at once in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger.” An IPS officer said, “Anyone violating the order could be arrested by the police.” But in Guwahati nothing of that sort happened and the city police did not arrest anyone.
As the 2019 elections are just around the corner, the police need to gear up because more such rallies may be expected until the elections take place. Even before the legislative assembly elections of 2016, there was a major brawl near Rajiv Bhawan between BJP and Congress workers that led to a number of arrests.
These processions even affect the city negatively. A shopkeeper in Ganeshguri said, “The BJP workers were very aggressive and blocked the entire road. The traffic police were not there to control the traffic or even stop the BJP workers.”
A commuter, who travels from Zoo Road to Lokhra every day and takes around 30 minutes to do so, took around four hours on 19th December. Similarly, the entire city suffered and no one from BJP was arrested.
An IPS officer talking to G Plus in condition of anonymity said, “If the police want they can arrest anyone during such situations when Section 144 is implemented but it did not happen because the BJP is in power and the police will think twice before arresting anyone who is in power.”
Incidents like this demonstrate a new low on the part of political parties and the efficiency levels of the local administration.
The political parties have started a new aggressive approach for winning elections coming out on to the roads at the slightest pretext thereby bringing the entire city to a standstill. And the local administration and police, as usual, have failed to control the political parties. The police do not arrest the political workers who are in power and Guwahati remains chaotic with the failure of the traffic department and the administration.
‘Scared’ BJP allows agencies to spy on computers ahead of 2019 elections: Pradyut Bordoloi, Congress Leader
The union home secretary issued an order on 20th December last that states that 10 agencies have been conferred with powers of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.
Earlier, only the home ministry could scan calls and emails of people. The new order gives the power to the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (Research and Analysis Wing), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, northeast and Assam only) and the Delhi Police Commissioner. If the service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource refuses to reveal information to these agencies, they can face seven years in jail and a fine.
The union government’s decision of surveillance was slammed by the opposition and the Congress claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is “scared,” and is, therefore, trying out various strategies before the 2019 elections.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) leader Pradyut Bordoloi, talking to G Plus said, “Even before Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, he and Amit Shah used to snoop on individuals. They are past masters of the game. Now, as they are in power, they are trying to infringe on the liberty and the individual rights of the people of India.” He also said that they have been snooping on the opposition leaders and people who they think are opposed to their (BJP’s) actions and thought process. Now, as the Lok Sabha elections are around the corner, the BJP is giving it a legal shape so that everyone could be legally spied upon, expressed Bordoloi.
Meanwhile, the ministry of home affairs (MHA), on Friday, clarified that its stand on its recent order authorising 10 agencies to snoop on any computer in the country in the interest of national security is based on the UPA-era IT Act and the IT Rules 2009 that allows for surveillance by a competent authority and said all cases of surveillance will be placed before a review committee headed by the cabinet secretary.
The MHA said that the 20th December order doesn't confer any new powers to any of the security or law enforcement agencies, and that the notification was issued to notify the internet service providers (ISPs), telecom service providers (TSPs) and intermediaries, etc, to codify the existing orders. Contrary to the accusations, the MHA said that the order, in fact, ensures that due law is followed during any interception, monitoring or decryption of information through any computer resource.
The government might claim that it is for national security, but the question remains as to why such a step has been taken just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.