Wayanad: Four persons, including two staff of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad office, were arrested on Friday here for allegedly damaging Mahatma Gandhi’s photo following a violent protest by members of the Students Federation of India (SFI) nearly two months ago. The four arrested are Rahul Gandhi’s personal assistant KR Ratheesh, SR Rahul, KA Mujeed, and V Naushad.
The police later released all four on bail. Congress sources said two of the arrested persons were staff of the Wayanad MP’s office here while two others were party workers. Talking to the media, Ratheesh called it s bogus case ‘registered to taint the Congress workers’. Congress leader and Kalpetta MLA T Siddique alleged, ‘The arrest was done with the complete knowledge of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He took such a step to appease the BJP ruling the Centre’, Congress leader and Kalpetta MLA T Siddique alleged.
KPCC president K Sudhakaran also alleged the police action against the Congress workers was ‘a part of a conspiracy centred around the Chief Minister’s Office’. ‘Kerala government and police are taking the approach of making the plaintiff the accused. The arrest is politically motivated. The Chief Minister should clarify on what evidence that the innocent Congress workers were arrested. Even before the police investigation started, the Chief Minister had announced that the accused were Congressmen’, Sudhakaran said in a statement.
However, CPM district secretary P Gagarin said the arrests were made based on evidence. CPM leader and state PWD Minister P A Muhammed Riyas said Congress should take disciplinary action against its workers who damaged Gandhi’s photo and put the blame on the SFI workers. The Congress had alleged that the photo of Mahatma Gandhi, which was hanging on the wall of Rahul Gandhi’s office, was damaged allegedly by SFI activists on June 24. SFI activists took out a protest march towards the Wayanad MP’s office here claiming inaction on his behalf in connection with the issue of Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ) around forests.