The sub-divisional officer of Malhargarh put 19 conditions before Congress president Rahul Gandhi for holding a rally in Mandsaur on 6 June for the upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh. However, after an uproar, the conditions have now been brought down to just six in a new official press release.
The conditions laid down by the SDM in his letter include warnings against use of any provocative speeches or words that would hurt religious sentiments, a ban on the use of DJ sound systems etc.
Other conditions were that only a 15 by 15 feet tent would be allowed for the event, loudspeakers can be only up to 10 decibels and there should be complete self-management of safety, parking, power, water and fire brigade by the organisers of the rally. Also, those involved in security have to submit their mobile phone numbers at the police station. The circular also said that the responsibility of counter-measures during natural calamities, if any, will be on the organisers. And also that the permission for the rally will be cancelled with immediate effect if the norms mentioned are not adhered to.
The Congress reacted strongly to the order. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram tweeted, "If the letter assigning permission to Rahul Gandhi’s rally is true, then it’s amply clear that the said officer has lost his/her discretion completely."
"The one who wrote the letter and his patrons should immediately study the article 19(1) of the Constitution,” read another of his tweets.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Kamal Nath too express his anguish by tweeting, “The Shivraj Singh-led government, which denied Rahul the permission to enter Mandsaur after firing on farmers, is now planning to disrupt Gandhi’s public meeting and suppress farmers’ voice on the pretext of conditions. Would the same set of conditions apply for PM Modi and other BJP leaders’ public meetings?”
And now after controversy erupted, the SDM has issued a fresh letter with just six conditions for the rally. The new letter states that the use of sound systems should be done according to the High Court order under the Madhya Pradesh Noise Pollution Act, 1985. The other five conditions include: No use/display of firearms, non-usage of provocative words or speech which can hurt religious sentiments, ensuring a law and order situation is maintained during the event and that the organisers would have to take all the requisite permissions from the respective departments prior to the event. The letter also states the non-adherence of the above guidelines will lead to the immediate cancellation of the permission given for the rally.
Meanwhile, according to News18, to BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal responded to these allegations claiming that the police and district administration decides the arrangements according to the rules. “Rahul is not above the law and no one makes rules specially meant for him.”
It was in Mandasur that five farmers were killed during a protest in police firing, and with its focus on farmers, the Congress has planned a series of rallies and meetings to mark one year of the firing. According to a report in NDTV, during the protests last year, Rahul was detained on his way to meet the families of the Mandsaur farmers, in Neemuch.
Updated Date: May 24, 2018 09:08 AM