NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday accused the Modi government of resorting to "raid raaj" after police questioned its youth wing chief Srinivas B V on distribution of oxygen and medicines to COVID-19 affected, even as the BJP insisted that activists across parties were being questioned due to a court order.
The Delhi Police's Crime Branch questioned Srinivas about the assistance being provided by him, and a senior official said it was done as per a May 4 Delhi High Court order.
The court had directed police to examine instances of politicians allegedly procuring and distributing Remdesivir here and take steps for lodging of FIR in case of offence.
As the Congress questioned the police action, BJP's Amit Malviya said, "Delhi Crime Branch, pursuant to a court order, is questioning activists across parties, who were arranging help for people in need, on the source of supplies when citizens, even some hospitals were struggling.
Only those with a history of hoarding and bootlegging are complaining.
" Earlier, the Congress had termed as political drama the questioning of Indian Youth Congress chief Srinivas and asked the Modi government to fulfil "raaj dharma" instead of resorting to "raid raaj".
"The one who saves is always greater than the one takes it," former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi using the hashtag 'IStandWithIYC'.
Its chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference that the Congress will neither be "cowed down" nor "bow down", and will continue to serve and help people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is clearly a political drama, which is aimed at threatening and stopping all those who are trying to help others in need.
It is the duty of all Indians today to oppose such raids," he told reporters.
Surjewala said at a time when people are craving for help all over the country, the government is wasting its time by indulging in "raid raaj" instead of helping the people.
"By raiding the IYC chief, PM (Narendra) Modi and (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah have done a shameful act," he said, asserting that "even foreign embassies are asking for oxygen and help from the IYC".
Taking a jibe at the government over its duties towards people, IYC president Srinivas tweeted, "Their (IYC) work is to spread love where ever it reaches."
BJP sources said its MP Gautam Gambhir was also approached by police.
In a tweet, Gambhir said, "Opposition should not indulge in needless politicisation of due process.
Delhi Police has asked for a reply from us and we have provided all details.
I will keep serving Delhi and its people to the best of my abilities always!" The Congress, though, was categorical in blaming the government.
The entire country is congratulating the works done by the Congress, but this "cruel" government is trying to strangle those who are helping others, Surjewala said.
"When IYC is helping people, Modi and Shah are misusing the Delhi Police by raiding the IYC and is snatching away the help offered by it to those in need. Does the Delhi Police not want that people be helped by the Congress," he asked.
The government has shown its dangerous face by "raiding" Indian Youth Congress workers and its chief Srinivas, he said.
"This is not raj dharma, this is raid dharma that Modi-Shah, and their puppet police are raiding and harassing Congress and youth Congress workers," the spokesperson said.
"If helping others and providing life-saving medicines is an offence, we will do this offence again and again and are ready to go to jail," Surejwala asserted.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted, "Was it a crime to help people when people were losing their lives because of lack of oxygen, hospital beds and medicines."
"It is our religion to help the people of the country in difficult times and this also the ideology of the country. I am proud of our youth wing," she said.
"If helping someone in need is now a crime, I will commit it again and again.
To my mind it's a far greater crime to silently watch and do nothing while people die desperately searching for medicine and gasping for air," Priyanka Gandhi said.
Surjewala asked whether the high court had asked for registering an FIR or raid the premises of the IYC.
The Congress leader also questioned if the Delhi Police has conducted similar raids on BJP or RSS workers and their offices.
Surjewala said the police could have given a notice of investigation, but not raid the premises without permission.
"This is a conspiracy to humiliate them and I strongly condemn it," he said, asking whose job is it to stop black marketing of essential drugs and medicines.
Surjewala also said the Congress will go to people's court rather than the high court as it has not committed any crime.