CPI-M headquarters attacked; BJP, RSS workers arrested

March 9th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Ambika Soni

New Delhi/Kannur, March 9 (IANS) The turf war between the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala reached the national capital Sunday as a 250-strong mob attacked the CPI-M headquarters in New Delhi, injuring 10 Left activists and eight policemen. The attack took place Sunday around 11 a.m. when top CPI-M leaders, including party general secretary Prakash Karat and politburo member Sitaram Yechuri, were huddled in the party’s Central Committee meeting at the party headquarters, A.K. Gopalan Bhawan, on the Bhai Mahaveer Singh Marg in the heart of the capital.

Yechuri blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists for the attack and said: “What else do you expect from people who did not leave even Mahatama Gandhi? They have simply revealed their fascist’s face.”

Maintaining that the attack was unprovoked, Yechuri denied it was in retaliation of any attacks by Left party workers against BJP and RSS workers in Kunnur and elsewhere in Kerala.

“In fact, it’s RSS workers who are indulging in violence there,” he said.

Karat added that four Left party workers were killed in political clashes in Kerala last week.

“Those killed included two party workers of Palaghat and now seven other have been killed by them in Kunnur,” he said.

Terming the attack as “pre-meditated”, Karat said: “There are no stones available in the areas. They all were brought here as per a pre-meditated plan.”

Alluding to the presence of Delhi unit chief Harsh Vardhan and Delhi assembly Leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi among the demonstrators, Karat said, “The attack was led by known leaders of the BJP and the RSS.”

Condemning the attack, Karat said physical violence has no place in a democratic set-up.

“Irrespective of our political opinion, you cannot physically resort to violence,” said Karat. “All other political parties have conveyed their condemnation of the act and have sided with us on this issue.”

He also called for an all-party meet on the issue in Kerala.

The Congress condemned the attack, terming it “a sordid act of hooliganism”.

Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni condemned the attack, and Congress spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and senior party leaders including B.K. Hariprasad, and Kishor Chandra Deo visited the CPI-M office.

“The attack is condemnable. It shows how the communal forces attack. There are democratic ways to oppose anything,” Soni told reporters outside the A.K. Gopalan Bhawan.

Terming the incident as a fascist attack, Moliy said: “It was a sordid act of hooliganism, and must be condemned. It was shocking. The attackers were killers of Mahatma Gandhi. They came well prepared. The law must take its own course in this regard.”

However, BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra and RSS spokesman Ram Madhav accused CPI-M workers of throwing stones from inside the party office at what they said was a peaceful demonstration by their party workers and provoking them to retaliate.

Ram Madhav said “Marxist goonda elements” had again resorted to barbarous violence in Kannur in the last five days, killing five BJP-RSS activists and seriously injuring dozens of workers.

“When our members were peacefully demonstrating outside the Marxist party office, Marxist elements displayed their fascist violent attitude like in Nandigram and Kannur,” he said.

The police arrested 15 workers of the BJP and the RSS, and lodging a criminal case named some senior BJP leaders, including Harsh Vardhan, for the incident.

Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said more people, including some senior BJP leaders, could be arrested.

The police spokesman said a mob of around 250 BJP and RSS workers descended on the CPI-M office and began throwing stones at the building.

The rampaging mob also damaged four cars, including those of Karat and Yechuri, parked outside the building, he said.

Some people participating in a demonstration by the Hindu Mahasabha nearby also joined the mob, said Bhagat, adding that the Rapid Action Force was also deployed and the situation was prevented from turning worse.

The police had to burst several rounds of teargas shells and deployed water cannons to contain the mob, said the police spokesman.

Meanwhile, security was tightened Sunday at party offices across Kerala while Marxist activists staged marches in several places protesting against the violence.

Kerala Director General of Police Raman Srivastava ordered deployment of police force at the offices of the CPI-M, BJP and RSS across the state.

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