Stone-throwing mob attacks India opposition leader Gandhi during visit to flood-hit area

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 4:27pm

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s car was hit by a stone-throwing mob as he visited a flood-hit region of Gujarat state, with leaders of his party blaming supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A mob carrying black flags tried to stop Gandhi’s convoy on Friday and although he was unhurt in the attack, the windows of his car were smashed, television images showed.

Police have detained one man and are investigating the incident, the Press Trust of India reported.

Scion to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that ruled India for decades through its Congress party, the 47-year-old Gandhi is seeking to revive the party’s fortunes after its ouster in 2014 general elections and a string of defeats in state polls since then.

Several senior Congress leaders accused Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of orchestrating the attack on Gandhi, who is the Congress vice-president.

Gujarat, Modi’s home state, goes to the polls in December with the BJP seeking to retain power.

“Windowpanes of Cong VP’s car broken in an organised attack by goons, security staff injured. BJP must know truth can’t be silenced,” tweeted Randeep Surjewla, a Congress spokesman.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, another Congress leader, said the attack was carried out deliberately by the BJP to create an atmosphere of fear in Gujarat ahead of the polls.

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Gandhi himself took to Twitter, saying he was undeterred by the attack.

“Narendra Modi ji, slogans, black flags and stones will not deter us ... We will put in all our might into the service of people,” he wrote. Gandhi later met flood victims in Banaskantha district of Gujarat where severe monsoon flooding has killed more than 200 people so far.