Interview with Congress MP Jothi Mani: ‘Delhi police assaulted us, tore my clothes…it’s bulldozer raj’

As Rahul Gandhi appeared before the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) For the third consecutive day of questioning in the alleged National Herald money laundering case on Wednesday, many Congress leaders and activists staged protests again against the BJP/ED-led Center for “involving” him in the case. During the day Congress released a video clip of Tamil Nadu’s Karur Party MP Jothi Mani in which she accused of being assaulted by Delhi Police personnel who she said also tore his clothes. She spoke to The Indian Express about the incident. Excerpts:

Congress released your video clip today. What really happened?

Today, women parliamentarians and members of the office of our party, including myself, peacefully left our AICC headquarters. We are party workers. We were exercising our democratic right to protest. The Delhi police behaved brutally towards us. Paramilitaries were also there. They dragged me along with others. They used brute force. A dozen people carried me and threw me and others into a bus. We protested. Some 60 to 70 police were there. They refused to give us water for an hour. We tried to buy water but they threatened the waterwallah and sent it away. Whether it’s a woman MP or a woman or an MP from any political party, that’s not the way to behave. It is not democracy that we want.

It was alleged that your clothes were torn?

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The cops tore my clothes. They did the same thing yesterday too. This is unacceptable. Why are we protesting? You are calling our leader (Rahul) without any basis. Even a small child understands PMLA…you need a planned offense. Some investigative agencies are required to file an FIR. Congress has been asking for three days what the intended offense is. Which agency lodged the complaint and in which police station? Where is the FIR? Please show us the copy of the FIR. At least give him (Rahul). So, without any basis, you are abusing the law, using the ED as your pet dog…despite my boss appearing before the ED as a law abiding citizen. His mother (Sonia Gandhi) is in hospital. She is not well. A son cannot go to her and take care of her. Is this the way to behave? They broke into our party office today.

Congress also released this video.

Leave Congress, any political party is a lifeline of democracy. You can’t walk into a party office like that. My office is my dignity, the dignity of my party. How can they break into our office like that?

Where were you taken after being detained by the police?

They took us to Narela Outer Police Station.

Police arrest a congresswoman during a protest outside the AICC office against the summons of party leader Rahul Gandhi by the Law Enforcement Directorate (ED). (PTI)

Are you still at the station?

I just arrived home. We fought with them (the police) because they said they wouldn’t leave us until 11 p.m. We told them that after 6 p.m. you cannot keep the women in detention. We will leave… if you want, you can restrain us using force.

Do you plan to write to the president of the Lok Sabha about the incident?

Our leader of the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has already discussed this with the Chairman of the Lok Sabha. We plan to file a complaint tomorrow. Our MP Rajya Sabha, Jebi Mather, and I were also assaulted by the cops yesterday. We will not be intimidated by this kind of repression. We are congress people. We have a history of fighting against the brute force of the British. We showed our chest to their balls. It’s not about Rahul Gandhi or me or the Congress party. This raj bulldozer can do anything to anyone. Tomorrow they can burst into any press house or into the residence of any leader of the opposition. So this fight is to protect the democracy of this country. It’s not for Congress or Rahul ji. We will fight until this government is ousted. This action against Rahul Gandhi is based on a private complaint. Tomorrow I can also file a complaint against any BJP person or relatives of any BJP leader or minister. You are doing all this because the Congress is going to undertake a Bharat Yatra. Rahul Gandhi is going to lead this yatra. Then there are reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “pressured” Sri Lanka to give Adani a power plant. They want to divert attention from all these issues.