Congress party goons recently vandalized a street-side vendor’s vegetable stall, threw away his scales, and verbally abused women customers. Having allegedly sent such criminals to collect Hafta (extortion money) for the ongoing ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ gimmick, Congress’s top brass quickly side-stepped the issue and climbed the moral high ground by ‘suspending’ the erring party workers. The collection drive was part of Rahul Gandhi’s 150-day yatra, and he was in town.
Salim Zainuddin, the president of Vilakkudy West Constituency, H Aneesh Khan, the state secretary of the Congress, and Kunnikode Shahjahan, a member of the District Congress Committee, are the three suspended workers. The goons attacked the vegetable shop owned by Anas at Kunnikode in the Kollam district. He refused to pay Rs.2,000, which infuriated the local Congress leaders. Interestingly, Anas paid Rs. 500, but apparently, that was not enough. Many wondered what Congress might be charging big businesses for their Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Local Congress leaders went to the shop a day before Gandhi arrived in Kollam and handed over a ‘receipt’ for Rs.2,000. Since the shopkeeper did not have the money, they agreed to come back the next day. On the 15th, around 5.30 pm, the mob arrived for collections. Anas did not have the cash, and that is when they created havoc.
Meanwhile, the head of the Vilakkudy West Mandal Committee said that the Congress was not to blame for the violence and that the Communist Party was behind the scheme to discredit the Congress party. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Sudhakaran said that the ‘crowdfunding’ would continue. Sudhakaran, too, alleged that the shopkeeper ‘himself destroyed the vegetables’.
According to reports, Anas has reported the crime to the police and alleged that he was beaten up. The incident was caught on a mobile phone and went viral on social media. One can also hear the Congress goons threatening to kill Anas for his refusal to contribute to the fund collection campaign.