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Nyay Yatra: Assam Congress chief questioned by police in FIR on route deviation

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Jorhat, Jan 31 (PTI) Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah was on Wednesday questioned by the police for his "role" in the deviation of the route of the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Jorhat.

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The police had on January 18 registered an FIR against the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' and several Congress leaders for allegedly deviating from its permitted route in Jorhat town.

The case was lodged under nine sections of the IPC, including some non-bailable ones, such as 120B (criminal conspiracy), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 188 (disobedience of order), 283 (causing danger, obstruction or injury), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty) of the IPC.

Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 for mischief causing damage to public property was also included in the FIR.

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The police then issued notices to Borah, former MLA Rana Goswami, Congress's Jorhat district president Pratul Buragohain, district secretary Abhijit Phukan and KB Byju, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi.

"Borah came today and he was questioned in connection to the case. He has been called again for further questioning on February 12," Jorhat Sadar police station's officer-in-charge Rahul Dewri told PTI.

Goswami and Byju were also issued notices for questioning, but they informed the police about their inability to come and sought a different date, he added.

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"We have asked them to come on February 10," the police officer said.

When asked how many people have been issued notices in the case, he said, "We are identifying the people who were involved. We cannot say the number as of now." An office-bearer of the state Congress said that Buragohain and Phukan were quizzed on January 29 and they have been asked to appear again on February 5 at the Jorhat Sadar police station Borah was questioned for about two-and-half hours since 11 am. Hundreds of Congress workers, including Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia, waited anxiously outside the police station.

"This is a politically motivated case. There was no police to guide us at the point where we were alleged to have deliberately taken a different route. I asked about it and the police said they were in civil dresses," Borah told reporters after coming out of the police station.

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When asked if he would seek bail, he said, "I haven't done anything wrong. Why should I take bail? The whole state and the whole country is watching. The truth shall prevail." Referring to the physical assault on him during the Yatra in Sonitpur district that left him bleeding from the nose, Borah said, "The two goons who attacked and assaulted me are roaming scot-free, but we are harassed. That's because Rahul Gandhi exposed the rampant loot of Assam by the CM and his family. He has lost his mind." Saikia also claimed that there were no police personnel to guide the march on the streets.

"It is quite evident that people who came from different parts of Assam might not know the routes of Jorhat and make some unintended mistakes. What CM Himanta Biswa Sarma is doing, is clearly nothing but a political vendetta," he said.

The Yatra, led by Gandhi, started from Manipur on January 14 and will culminate on March 20 in Mumbai.

The march covered 833 km in 17 districts of Assam. In all, it is scheduled to cover 6,713 km in 67 days while passing through 110 districts in 15 states. PTI TR TR SOM

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