Police have sounded the alarm and stepped up vigilance after two parked cars were torched in separate incidents at the Shanthinagar bus stop near the Directorate of Law Enforcement office and another at Seshadripuram on Thursday by Youth Congress activists, who were protesting against the ED continuing to question the party’s President Sonia Gandhi in the National Herald case.
Wilson Garden Police arrested five Congress workers for setting fire to a car during a protest at the Shanthi Nagar bus stop. However, no arrests have yet been made in the second case. Police towed the car away after extinguishing the fire.
State Youth Congress President Mohammed Nalapad later said the activists were expressing their anger and frustration and set fire to their own cars. Mr Nalapad said he did not justify the actions, but the incidents showed how frustrated party workers were with the developments.
In either case, strict action would be taken for rioting, public nuisance and protesting without permission, police said.
At Liberty Park
Meanwhile, all of the party’s top Congress leaders participated in the protest at Freedom Park. Speaking at the event, Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah said the BJP was misleading people by saying the Congress protests indicated a lack of courage to stand up to the law. “The protests are not a manifestation of fear or disrespect for the law of the land. This is a protest against the misuse of all government agencies by the BJP government with the aim of silencing all opposition,” he said. KPCC Chairman DK Shivakumar said he himself was a victim of such “harassment” by law enforcement.
Upparpet police also detained senior Congress leaders as they attempted to break down barriers at Freedom Park to march towards Raj Bhavan. They were released later.