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India Sukhram Attacker Slaps Sharad Pawar In Delhi

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Sukh Ram Attacker Slaps Sharad Pawar in Delhi

New Delhi | Nov 24, 2011

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was today attacked by a youth claiming to protest against price rise and corruption but the Congress party blamed it on a statement by BJP while there was all-round condemnation of the assault.

Pawar (71), who went to a literary function at a public auditorium on Parliament Street, was caught unawares when he was slapped by Harvinder Singh, a local transporter in his thirties who had assaulted former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram outside a court on Saturday after he was sentenced in a corruption case.

Pawar, who has very little security, lost his balance for a moment but regained composure after the assault, moved towards the exit of the auditorium and got into his waiting car.

Private security guards immediately overpowered the youth who was shouting "he is corrupt" and an official landed some blows on Singh, who was arrested and charged with causing hurt, assault and criminal intimidation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Pawar after the incident and condemned the attack.

Congress and BJP sparred over the incident. Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the attack was a result of Yashwant Sinha's statement on Tuesday that continued price rise in the "absence" of any concrete steps may become a reason for people to vent their anger in the form of violence.

Another party spokesperson Manish Tiwari said such statements were not good for democracy and they went to prove the intentions of the party.

However, BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad hit back saying it was unfortunate that Congress feels that the opposition party is trying to incite the public. "It is not proper. It should not have happened. It is a security breach," he said.

On his part, Sinha claimed that this incident had nothing to do with the statement made by him on Tuesday.

"I came planned to the event to slap the minister," Singh said. "All of them are corrupt," he shouted when he was removed from security and policemen.

Wielding a small kirpan, the youth said things could have been worse but for the observance of martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur today. Police also slapped the charge of attempt to suicide after he tried to slash the veins on his wrist.

A senior police official said they were checking Singh's medical records to check whether he is mentally stable. The official said prima facie, it did not appear that any political party has any role in this incident.

Pawar himself sought to play down the incident saying he was not sure of what the intentions of the attacker could be and left it to police to handle the issue.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said that the attack was "totally condemnable" wondering where the country headed to.

Pawar termed the incident stupid and that he did not make much out of it.

When asked whether he would press charges against the attacker, he said it was for police to deal with the matter.

Pawar said he saw the youth standing in the midst of a group of journalists and could have taken advantage of the fact that he has very little security.

His daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule said she does not want to blame anybody and asked her party workers to "forget and move ahead".

Sule said police will handle the matter and party activists should not react in any manner.

Leaders cutting across political lines condemned the attack saying it cannot be tolerated in a democracy.

While Congress blamed the Tuesday statement of BJP leader Yashwant Singh that continued price rise in the "absence" of any concrete steps may become a reason for the people to vent their anger in the form of violence, opposition leaders said the government should take the issue of price rise seriously and address it.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also spoke out against violence and said the attacker should be punished. The government also should take the price situation seriously, he said.

source: http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=742426