Freedom of expression can’t be used to divide nation: Congress

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Congress top leadership seems to be upset over a series of events in Palghar, Maharashtra, where two sadhus were lynched last week, triggering a political row where Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi’s name was dragged by the BJP and a TV channel.

“Freedom of expression can’t be used by propagandists to inject poison into the society,” said Ahmed Patel, AICC Treasurer. “The Constitution of India guaranteeing freedom of expression must be followed by all, but libel can’t be allowed,” said Patel.

He said while law should take it own course, the freedom of expression can’t allow anyone to sully others’ reputation.

The Congress has denied the charge that its activists attacked any journalist, saying “our party does not stoop to this level.”

“We are very sure Congressmen have nothing to do with this. This is not our tradition, this is not our culture,” said K.C. Venugopal, party General Secretary (Organization).

Party sources say that “there should be action by the state apparatus,” hinting that the “divisive agenda” cannot be tolerated. The Congress sources insist that there was no communal angle to the Palghar incident.

In Maharashtra the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government is supported by the Congress and multiple FIRs have been registered in the case in various parts of the country.

“Palghar is a BJP stronghold. We also heard Maharashtra Home Minister who made a statement yesterday that an FIR has been registered against 110 people. Out of these 110 people, not even a single Muslim is there, then how can it become a communal issue?” asked Venugopal after the Congress Working Committee meeting on Thursday.

“The media show draw their own Laxman Rekha. We are not going to do it…Everybody witnessed what happened on Tuesday on a TV news programme,” Venugopal said.