Sunday, August 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Arun Shourie manhandled

MUMBAI, Aug 5 (UNI) — In a shocking incident, Union Minister of State for Planning and Disinvestment Arun Shourie was manhandled and his shirt was torn-off by activists of the Republican Party of India in full public glare today.

Mr Shourie, who wrote a highly critical book on the architect of Indian Constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, “Worshipping False Gods” three years ago, had been here to give away awards and deliver Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture at Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium in south Mumbai.

As soon as he got up to address the elite gathering, a group of alleged RPI activists sitting in the balcony of the auditorium sprang to their feet and started shouting slogans denouncing the minister for his views on Dr Ambedkar and hailing the architect of the Indian Constitution.

As the stunned audience looked up, one person walked up to the stage and suddenly caught Mr Shourie by his collar. He pulled his shirt tearing it off at the top. The visibly shaken dignitaries on the dais got their act together and caught the person. It was after almost five minutes that police rushed in and took the man as well as slogan shouting men into custody.

Instead of reacting, a calm and composed Mr Shourie took hold of the mike in the same torn attire and said, “the first person who would have condemned such an act would have been Dr Ambedkar himself’’.

Mr Shourie said it was the third attack on him since writing the book and had “forewarned the police about the possibility of such type of incident. It does not reflect on them (police) well and I now again forewarn them that it can happen again when I leave this place’’. There are many such small groups who survive on other’s fame, he added.

About 40 Ambedkar supporters, mostly RPI workers were arrested and will be produced before the court tomorrow, the police added.

It was only before leaving the venue that Mr Shourie changed into new clothes and moved out leaving the memory of a bitter incident to be condemned by others.

He also delivered the lecture on “India Towards the Future” in which he said, “We should prepare ourselves to face the facts and find out and implement solutions instead of merely babbling about the problems”.

He gave away the Sicom Lalit Doshi Memorial Award to Mr Vijay Pulaskar for his contributions in the manufacturing and selling of engine components. Among the audience was state Chief Secretary Arun Bongirwar. 

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