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Congress protests in Jammu over CBI row

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Jammu, Oct 26: Congress workers Friday staged a protest demonstration here as part of the party’s nationwide protest against the Centre’s decision to divest CBI Director Alok Verma of his duties and sending him on leave.

A large number of senior Congress leaders and workers gathered at Shahidi Chowk and marched towards Raghunath Bazar carrying placards denouncing Centre’s “undue interference into the independence of the CBI”.

The protest march was led by former minister and vice-president Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Raman Bhalla. Several prominent leaders like Ravinder Sharma, Manmohan Singh, Vikram Malhotra, Udey Bhanu Chib were part of the protest.

Addressing the gathering, Bhalla lashed out at the Central government for its “direct assault” on democratic institutions in the country.

“It is very unfortunate that independent and autonomous institutions are being trampled upon by the Modi government,” he said.

Bhalla said the government’s “encroachment upon the independence of these institutions has shaken the roots of democracy”.

He alleged that the Centre acted “out of fear and in panic” in view of the Rafale fighter jet issue.

Ravinder Sharma, chief spokesperson, JKPCC, said the actions of the Centre were aimed at to deter the constitutional functionaries from acting against the government and the BJP.

“It is a sort of undeclared emergency and all constitutional and democratic institutions are being systematically weakened,” he alleged.

The government Tuesday sent Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who accused each other of corruption, on leave.

It also transferred several CBI officials and appointed M Nageswar Rao as the interim chief of the agency.

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