On January 23, 2024, tensions erupted in Guwahati as supporters of Rahul Gandhi clashed with the Assam Police during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’s re-entry into Assam. The situation escalated following the government’s denial of permission for the yatra to use main routes inside Guwahati, leading to heightened security measures at Khanapara, the city’s entry point.
The clash prompted Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to express his concerns on a microblogging site, accusing Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, of wanton acts of violence, provocation, and assault on police personnel. The Chief Minister directed Assam Director General of Police (DGP) GP Singh to register a criminal case against Gandhi, emphasizing the use of social media footage as evidence.
On January 24, the Assam Police officially transferred the criminal case against Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders to the Crime Investigation Department (CID). The case, registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act, includes non-bailable charges such as assault on public servants, causing hurt to deter public servants from duty, and voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
Sarma, in a scathing post, accused Rahul Gandhi of provoking the crowd and violating guidelines, resulting in a massive traffic jam in Guwahati. He expressed disappointment, stating that such “naxalite tactics” are alien to the peaceful state of Assam. The Chief Minister’s directive for a criminal case highlights the gravity of the situation and the government’s commitment to maintaining law and order.
As the case is transferred to the CID for a thorough investigation through a Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Congress party is expected to respond to the allegations. The clash and subsequent criminal case have intensified political tensions in the region, raising questions about the role of political leaders in public demonstrations and the responsibility of law enforcement agencies in handling such situations.
The clash between Congress leaders and the Assam Police in Guwahati has escalated into a criminal investigation, with serious charges filed against Rahul Gandhi and others. The incident highlights the delicate balance between the right to peaceful protest and maintaining law and order. As the CID takes charge of the investigation, the outcome will likely have broader implications for political engagements and public demonstrations in the region.