Two ministers, including Lakhan Yadav and Jitu Patwari, along with rebel Congress MLA Manoj Choudhary’s father Narayan Choudhary and his brother were allegedly manhandled by Karnataka police on Thursday when they tried to meet the rebel MLAs housed in Bengaluru.
"We had to detain the leaders, including two ministers Jitu Patwari and Lakhan Singh at Embassy Boulevard Club near the airport, as the rebel MLAs didn't wanted to meet them at the resort where they are staying or anywhere outside," a Karnataka Police official said.
Following the development, Congress is planning to move the Supreme Court against the alleged assault and detention of ministers who went to Bengaluru to free ‘captive’ MLAs.
Top Congress leaders, including former CM Digvijaya Singh, MP Vivek Tankha, law and legal affair minister PC Sharma, finance minister Tarun Bhanot and others held a meeting at PCC office following the Bengaluru development. Later, they claimed that BJP was holding 20 Congress MLAs captive in Bengaluru with police support.
Earlier, the MP Congress leaders were released by Bengaluru police on the intervention of local politician D Shivkumar. Later, addressing a press conference, minister Jitu Patwari asked, “Why Karnataka police and BJP leaders are preventing a father from meeting his son.” He claimed that their attempts to talk to MLA Choudhary were thwarted by locals and police. He also claimed of being assaulted by locals and the police. Accusing the cops of trying to book them on false charges, Patwari said, “We only wanted to have a tea and discussion with our own party MLAs. Narayan Choudhary, who too was present in the press conference said, “I was worried about by son MLA Manoj Choudhary and came to Bengaluru to ascertain his well being.” He further said, “Under what law was I stopped from meeting my son.”
“Incidentally, a rebel MLA - Manoj Chaudhary came to the club after he learnt that his father too flew in to the city. But the police did not allow them to meet because the rebels gave in writing to the police chief that they do not want to meet anyone," a party source said on the condition of anonymity.
In response to a letter the rebel MLAs wrote to Karnataka director general of police (DGP) Praveen Sood on Monday seeking security for their safety, the Bengaluru Rural district police had deployed additional personnel in around the resort since Tuesday.
"The rebels have told the resort management and the police on duty not to allow anyone inside who wants to meet or talk to them as they are unwilling to do so," the source quipped.
As directed by the DGP, movement of people, including guests are screened and vehicles entering the resort are checked to ensure the safety and security of the rebel lawmakers.
In a press conference in Bhopal, SC lawyer and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha alleged that the Congress MLAs were held in captivity with tacit understanding between the BJP leaders and the Bengaluru police.
Demanding that all 22 MLAs be released forthwith and brought to MP immediately, Tankha threatened to move the SC if it was not fulfilled. He also demanded action against erring cops.
“It proves that democracy is under threat. Since the incident occurred in Bengaluru, it is now a national issue involving two states,” he said and added, “I’ll talk to senior leader and advocate Kapil Sibal and then decide on moving the SC.”