Protests after mob attacks India opposition leader Gandhi

AFP , Saturday 5 Aug 2017

India's main opposition Congress Party staged angry nationwide protests Saturday, blaming supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for pelting stones at the car of its leader Rahul Gandhi.

Congress workers shouted slogans outside the headquarters of Modi's ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi and held street protests in other states.

Gandhi was travelling to a flood-hit area in western Gujarat state Friday when a mob carrying black flags pelted stones at his convoy.

Although Gandhi was unhurt in the attack, the windows of his car were smashed, television channels showed.

"BJP workers threw stones at me, it hit my PSO (personal security officer). It is their style of politics, what can I say," said Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that ruled India for decades through the Congress party.

Gandhi, 47, has been seeking to revive the party's fortunes after BJP ousted it from power in 2014 general elections.

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.

The Congress also lodged a police complaint of "murderous assault" against four BJP workers.

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

Gandhi said 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 tweeted Friday.

Gandhi later met flood victims in Banaskantha district of Gujarat where severe monsoon flooding has killed more than 200 people so far.

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