The Delhi Police on Saturday, 6 August, filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Congress party members under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, after they violated prohibitory orders imposed in New Delhi district to carry out nationwide protests against inflation and unemployment on Friday.
The party's protesters were booked under sections charging them with voluntary causing hurt to, obstructing, and disobeying public servants (Sections 332, 186, and 188 respectively), naming a few Congress leaders and workers in the FIR.
Commenting on the FIR, MP Rahul Gandhi said, "In our country, protesting is illegal, voicing our opinions is illegal. They (Bharatiya Janata Party government) can do whatever they want."
Several Congress leaders flouted prohibitory orders (Section 144 of the IPC, preventing four or more people from gathering) imposed by the Delhi Police on Friday, as party leaders and workers wore black and took out massive protests against rising prices and inflation.
The FIR was registered at Tughlaq Road police station, New Delhi district DCP Amrutha Guguloth told The Indian Express.
The police detained a total of 335 protesters, including 65 Congress MPs for defying prohibitory orders despite repeated warnings.
When the police reached protest sites to contain the situation, "the protesters tried to obstruct police officers from performing their duties, manhandled and injured them," Special Commissioner of Police Sagar Preet Hooda said in his statement.
Security forces employed the use of water cannons against Congress protesters in Chandigarh, whereas "thousands" of Congress workers were detained in Maharashtra, the party claimed.
Ahead of the protests, party leader Rahul Gandhi alleged in a speech that India was witnessing the onset of "dictatorship," adding that every independent institution was controlled by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Rahul, Priyanka Among Detained Protesters; Released After Six Hours
The detained protesters, including Rahul Gandhi and Youth Congress workers, were taking to Kingsway Camp Police Station during their 'PM House Gherao' agitation.
Priyanka Gandhi was detained from outside the party headquarters by the Delhi Police.
Other detained leaders included MPs Jairam Ramesh, Ranjeet Ranjan, Deepender Hooda, Mallikarjun Kharge, and P Chidambaram.
Congress MP and the party's interim president Sonia Gandhi led protest of party MPs in Parliament, where protesters stood with placards demanding removal of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on food products.
Following the protests, Special Commissioner Hooda told Indian Express that police arrangements had been made to maintain law and order situation in view of the upcoming Parliament sessions and Independence Day events, including the implementation of Section 144 orders.
"The protestors were appropriately warned about the prohibitory orders in force in the area and repeatedly requested to disperse. However, they continued the protest, thereby violating prohibitory orders,” he was quoted by Indian Express as saying.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)