Thursday, May 19, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Rahul misquoted on Noida deaths, rapes, claims Cong

Rahul misquoted on Noida deaths, rapes, claims Cong
TNN | May 19, 2011, 03.27am IST

NEW DELHI: With other political parties joining the Mayawati
government to question Rahul Gandhi's claim of mass murder and rape in
Bhatta Parsaul, Congress on Wednesday claimed that the party general
secretary had been misquoted.

AICC media head Janardan Dwivedi said, "Whatever has come in media is
unfortunate. Nowhere did he (Rahul) mention the number of 74 or 74
bodies. Rahul Gandhi had only said that at one place an ash-heap of 70
feet area was there in which bones were found," he told reporters.
About the authenticity of the claim made, Dwivedi said Rahul spoke
what he was told by villagers during his visit.

Dwivedi's defence came after both Samajwadi Party and BJP raised
doubts about Rahul's sensational version of what happened last week at
Bhatta Parsaul and after the inhabitants refused to support the
claims. Mayawati government, which has accused Congress of
politicizing the issue, has sent the ashes, allegedly containing human
remains according to Rahul, for forensic investigation.

The AICC media head emphasized that Rahul had merely quoted the
villagers who clashed with police over their demand for enhanced
compensation for farmland acquired by UP government. "Naturally,
whenever you go after some incidents, whatever people tell you, you
repeat those things," he said.

Speaking at a party meet in Varanasi, Rahul talked about his dramatic
visit to Bhatta Parsaul but stopped short of repeating the charge of
killings and rape. He said villagers were living in fear and he did
not get to meet men in Bhatta Parsaul.

Rahul demanded a judicial probe into the violence, and said, "If the
government says that there is no problem, why is there no inquiry to
find out the truth."

In a hard-hitting speech, he also said that his agitation in Bhatta
Parsaul was only the beginning of a larger campaign against the
Mayawati government.

Significantly, in Delhi, Dwivedi seemed to concede the possibility of
villagers making exaggerated claims. "That matter should be
investigated. If it is not correct, it is alright. But if it is
correct, it is a very serious matter. Whatever may be the fact, it
should come out."

A day-long independent investigation by TOI at Bhatta Parsaul pointed
to high-handedness by police who were fired upon by the protesters,
but the villagers did not support the charge of largescale killings
and rape.

Congress, however, repeated its demand for judicial probe into the
police action. "This is a matter of investigation. It should be
investigated. If bones have been found, whose bones are these should
be determined. And if atrocities have taken place against women and
they were even beaten up, why has it happened," Dwivedi said.

The political clash over Bhatta Parsaul is being seen against the
backdrop of the looming UP polls. Scheduled next year, the state
elections are being seen as test for the Congress general secretary
who was widely credited with the party's unexpectedly strong
performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul was instrumental in Congress's decision to go it alone in a
state where it had been reduced to the margins since the early 90s.
While the risky gambit paid off, Congress has failed to build upon the
surprise win two years ago. The sub-par performance of the party in
the just-held assembly elections and, early on in Bihar, has enhanced
the need for Congress to emerge as the main political formation in
opposition to Mayawati.

Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan, asked if the party had
evidence to back Rahul's claims, said, "This is not a court to talk
about evidence...It was a political delegation. We called for a
thorough probe to establish that there was no rape or murder. Why is
the UP government hesitating in ordering an inquiry," she said.

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