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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

HashtagPolitics | Renuka Chowdhury’s face-off with cop creates online buzz

Former Union minister claims she ‘caught’ the policeman’s collar after losing her balance while being ‘pushed’ during the protest in Hyderabad.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 17, 2022 8:24:10 am
In a video, the former Union minister can be seen arguing with the police personnel who had gathered to break up the Congress protest and holding on to the policeman’s collar while being taken to the police vehicle. (ANI/screengrab)

As the Congress on Thursday continued to protest against the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) questioning of its former president Rahul Gandhi, its former MP Renuka Chowdhury created a stir online after she was seen holding a policeman by his collar during a face-off with law-enforcement officials in Hyderabad during a “Chalo Raj Bhavan” march.

In a video that news agency ANI tweeted, the former Union minister can be seen arguing with the police personnel who had gathered to break up the Congress protest and holding on to the policeman’s collar while being taken to the police vehicle. Later, sharing a video of the incident, Chowdhury said she “had no intention” of “hitting” or “humiliating” the police officer. She claimed to have “caught” the official’s collar after losing her balance while being “pushed”. She alleged that the “real issue” was “being diverted”.

Earlier in the day, the Congress leader told the Telugu media at the spot that she was protesting peacefully along with other women leaders when the police intervened. She questioned the way the police had dealt with them. Hitting out at the state government, the former Union minister said the “actual thieves were sitting in the Assembly”, and added that the “police did not have the guts to arrest them”. Demanding answers from Union Home Minister Amit Shah, she said in English that there “was a total failure of law and order in the country”.

“Why were male police officers around me?” she asked in a tweet. Later, she posted, “Police across the country need to show restraint against protesting Congress leaders. You barge into our office, you kick our leaders, you drag our woman leaders, you lathi-charge our leaders & you expect us to be calm?”

Chowdhury has been a Union minister in the past twice as Minister of Tourism (2004-2006) and Minister of Women and Child Development (2006-2009). She is a vocal politician but has largely been absent on the national stage after serving as a Rajya Sabha MP in 2012. She is currently a Congress spokesperson.

At Thursday’s protest march, Telangana Congress chief and MP A Revanth Reddy and Bhatti Vikramarka were among the senior party leaders detained. The state unit’s social media account also shared a video showing the police beating up the state’s spokesperson Kiran Chamala. According to reports, a bike was torched during the protests.

Reddy put out a tweet saying, “Arrests will not deter our spirit. Why does the govt fear so much of our leader @RahulGandhi that it takes the help of ED, CBI & police?! We will continue our unparalleled struggle against both central & state govts that are suppressing the voices of the people.”

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In another tweet in Telugu, he claimed that “the party activists were indiscriminately baton-charged”, adding, “In support of the BJP, the KCR government has pushed khakis up our ranks.”

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First published on: 16-06-2022 at 06:51:23 pm

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