Pawan Khera deplaned, arrested; Congress turns IGI Airport into protest site

| Updated: 23 February, 2023 4:10 pm IST

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport witnessed some high-voltage drama on Thursday afternoon with Congress leaders headed for Raipur for the party’s 85th Plenary session turning it into a protest site after one of their leaders, Pawan Khera was abruptly deplaned and then arrested by Assam Police. The chief of the Congress Media and Publicity department was deboarded from an Indigo flight by the officials of the police. He was enroute to Raipur to attend the party’s 85th Plenary Session.

In a video statement from the site of the event, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, “We were going to attend the Congress Plenary Session in Raipur along with Pawan Khera, KC Venugopal, Randeep Singh Surjewala among others. Pawan Khera was told that his bag had got exchanged while he was not carrying any check-in bag,” she said.

“He got to know that some CISF officer would serve notice to him. What is this kind of dictatorship is this? Now you will not allow someone to travel and board the flight? First you got the ED searches in Chhattisgarh on several Congress leaders ahead of the Session. What kind of crime he has committed and under which sections he has been deplaned need to be explained,” she said.

She added that the Congress leaders will not board the flight till the time Khera is made to travel with them.

“We will not accept such dictatorship rule,” Shrinate added.

Following the deplaning of Khera, Congress leaders Surjewala, Venugopal and others sat on protest at the airport tarmac along with other party leaders and also raised slogans against the Modi government.

Venugopal took to Twitter to slam the government and said, “Modi government is acting like a bunch of goons by deplaning Pawan Khera ji from the Delhi-Raipur flight and preventing him from joining the AICC Plenary. Using a flimsy FIR to restrict his movement and silence him is a shameful, unacceptable act. The entire party stands with Pawan ji.”

Congress general secretary Surjewala hit out at the ruling party saying, “Congress friends we all were going to Raipur for Pleanary Session from an Indigo flight. Our friend Pawan Khera was deplaned and now Assam Police is here. Which kind of dictatorship is it? Law and order is not the arbitrariness of one man. We are soldiers of truth and will keep on fighting for it.”

In a video statement Surjewala said that Khera was asked to deplane by police along with Assam Police

“When we asked for copy of FIR and arrest warrant issued by a magistrate or arrest order but they failed to do so. And now the Delhi Police and Assam Police have forcefully stopped our plane,” he said.

When asked, what is the case against Khera, Surjewala said that he has not been informed by the police what the case is. If they produce the arrest order, or FIR or Warrant issued by Magistrate, we will let the law do its work as we believe in Constitution,” he said.

Condemning the arrest, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Modi has turned democracy into dictatorship.”

Khera had drawn sharp reactions from the BJP for allegedly making a distasteful remark against PM Modi’s father Damodar Das.

Khera had referred to the PM as Narendra ‘Gautam Das’ Modi. However, he later tried to excuse himself by saying that he was genuinely confused about the PM’s middle name.

“If (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee could form a JPC, then what is the problem with Narendra ‘Gautam Das’ Modi?” he had said while replying to a question related to the Adani-Hindenburg controversy.

However, after making the statement, Khera asked those present around him whether he had gotten the Prime Minister’s middle name correct. “Is it Gautam Das or Damodar Das?” Khera asked, pretending he does not know the name.

Khera then laughed and took a jibe, saying that even though the name is Damodar Das, his actions are similar to those of Gautam Das.

Meanwhile, an FIR was filed under IPC sections 153-A, 500, 504 and 505 against the Congress spokesperson at Hazratganj PS in Lucknow, UP for allegedly making the comment against PM Modi’s father.

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