Congress wants case filed over Amit Shah’s public meet at Goa airport

The Bhartiya Janata Party, which earlier claimed it had permission for the meeting, Monday said the crowd that greeted chief Amit Shah at the Dabolim airport in Goa had gathered there spontaneously and that it was "not a planned meeting".

By: PTI | Panaji | Published: July 3, 2017 10:30:10 pm
amit shah, goa airport, goa congress, public meet, dabolim airport, panaji, aicc, indian express BJP president Amit Shah at Dabolim airport in Goa on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

The Congress on Monday demanded a case of trespass to be registered over an “authorised” public meeting BJP chief Amit Shah was alleged to have addressed in the prohibited area of Dabolim airport in Panaji on Saturday. Led by AICC secretary Girish Chodankar, Congress workers met the airport director B C H Negi to register their protest and later claimed the official admitted no permission had been granted for the event.

The BJP, which earlier claimed it had permission for the meeting, Monday said the crowd that greeted Shah at the airport had gathered there spontaneously and that it was “not a planned meeting”. “We asked the airport director to show us the permission (for the meeting) after which he admitted none was given. We have asked the Airports Authority to India to file a formal police complaint of trespass against the people concerned,” Chodankar said after Negi.

The airport at Dabolim is inside the Naval air base, he said, adding holding such a meeting there raised questions about the security at the facility. Shah, who was on a two-day visit to Goa, allegedly held a meeting at the airport complex in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union minister Sripad Naik.

Social activist Aires Rodrigues has filed a complaint with the Union civil aviation ministry, Goa chief secretary and the state’s police chief, terming the meeting illegal and seeking registration of an FIR against Shah, the organisers of the event and all dignitaries present.

The BJP had then claimed the party had the necessary permission for the meeting which took place “not inside the facility as claimed”. “No inconvenience was caused to anyone and the meeting lasted only for seven minutes,” Goa’s Panchayati Raj Minister Mauvin Godinho had told reporters yesterday after the complaint by Rodrigues.

However, Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar today said, “People had gathered outside the airport on their own spontaneously to see Amit Shah. We had not planned any meeting.” Even the dais and chairs were set up by some people in the crowd, he claimed.

Shah, who arrived in Goa by a regular flight, was in the airport building for 10-15 minutes as people thronged to greet him, Tendulkar said. “The supporters arranged a welcome function impromptu,” he said. “If Congress wants, it can have a similar reception for Sonia Gandhi,” he said.

When reached for comments, Negi said he was on leave on Saturday and was looking into the matter.

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