Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar on Friday came out in support of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal after the party workers protested outside his house and reportedly damaged a car. This happened after the former Union Minister raised questions over the party's functioning and attacked its leadership.
Taking to Twitter, Akhtar said those who attacked Kapil Sibal’s house for expressing an opinion about the working process of the Congress party are the same who criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for curbing the freedom of expression.
Further questioning former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, the veteran lyricist wrote, "Shouldn’t Rahul Gandhi condemn these hooligans in the strongest words?"
Meanwhile, senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Vivek Tankha and Raj Babbar also rallied behind Sibal, asking party chief Sonia Gandhi to take strong action against those involved.
P Chidambaram said he felt "hurt and helpless" to see Congress workers protesting outside Sibal's house. Expressing disappointment over the current political mess within the grand old party, Chidambaram said he feels "helpless" when one cannot start "meaningful conversations" within party forums.
Taking to Twitter, the senior leader wrote: "I feel helpless when we cannot start meaningful conversations within party forums. I also feel hurt and helpless when I see pictures of Congress workers raising slogans outside the residence of a colleague and MP. The safe harbour to which one can withdraw seems to be silence."
Azad, former leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, strongly condemned the "orchestrated hooliganism" at Sibal's residence.
"He (Sibal) is a loyal Congressman fighting for the party both inside and outside Parliament. Any suggestion from any quarter should be welcomed instead of suppressing, hooliganism is unacceptable," tweeted Azad, who along with Sibal is part of the 'Group of 23' which last year had written to Gandhi seeking organisational overhaul of the party.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, "Orchestrated hooliganism outside Kapil Sibal's residence last night is not the culture of the Congress." "If one has any difference of views, the same should be brought up and discussed at party forum," he said on Twitter.
Asserting that difference in opinion and perception are integral to a democracy, Sharma, also a part of the G-23, said intolerance and violence is alien to Congress values and culture.
"Shocked and disgusted to hear the news of attack and hooliganism at Kapil Sibal's house. This deplorable action brings disrepute to the party and needs to be strongly condemned," Sharma said in a series of tweets.
He asserted that the Congress has a history of upholding freedom of expression. Those responsible must be identified and disciplined, Sharma said.
"Urging Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take cognisance and strong action," he said in a tweet.
Taking to Twitter, Congress MP from Punjab, Manish Tewari, unequivocally condemned what he said was "orchestrated hooliganism" at Sibal's residence last night. "Those who masterminded the assault must bear in mind that he fights for @INCIndia both inside and outside courts of law. You may find his views uncomfortable but that cannot be a license for violence," Tewari, who is a part of the 23 leaders who wrote to Gandhi last year, said.
(With PTI inputs)
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