Congress Leader Pawan Khera Deplaned and Arrested

Congress leader Pawan Khera, who was arrested by the Assam Police from the Delhi airport.

Speaking at a press conference inDelhi recently to demand an investigation against the Gautam Adani Group, Congress leader Pawan Khera said, “Prime Minister as “Narendra Gautamdas…. sorry…. Damodardas Modi.” While PM Modi’s full name is Narendra Damodardas Modi - Damodardas being his father’s name. According to the BJP the Khera insulted the PM by replacing his name with Gautamdas which is Adani’s first name. Khera said it was by mistake. However the BJP said that it was intentional. A BJP member in Assam, Samuel Changsan, approached the police against the Congress leader, and an FIR was registered. Complaints against him have also been filed in Uttar Pradesh.

On 23rd February, Khera along with Congress delegation was traveling to Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur for a meeting. Khera claimed: "I don't know..I was told that your baggage has to be checked. I said I do not have any luggage except a handbag. When I came down, I was told that I cannot go, a DCP would come. We are waiting for the DCP for the last 20 minutes," Khera was allegedly forced to deboard IndiGo flight. However, the Assam Police arrived at the airport with an FIR and arrested Khera. This prompted the other Congress leaders to get off the plane and stage a sit-in protest on the Delhi airport tarmac. Congress's Supriya Shrinate said: "This is the same Assam Police which does not take any action against atrocities...I want to ask what was the reason for this detainment. If this is not dictatorship, then what is?" 


On the back of this incident, IndiGo said: "A passenger was deplaned by the police at the Delhi airport from Raipur-bound flight. Some other passengers have also decided to deboard on their own accord. We are following the advice of the concerned authorities. The flight is delayed as of now, and we regret the inconvenience caused to other passengers," 

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, justifying the dramatic arrest of Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera after he was deplaned said the police were "duty-bound" to arrest Mr Khera. Don't go by the manner, whether he is in the sky or on earth, the police have to arrest," He added that FIRs were filed against him by the Congress for his controversial "father-son" barbs at Rahul Gandhi last year. "Can you abuse a father? Because I said something about the father of a leader, Congress has filed 130 FIRs against me in Telangana.”

The Congress, which approached the Supreme Court, argued that it was a "slip of tongue" and that Mr Khera had apologised. While granting interim bail to Khera in the Supreme Court Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said, "There has to be some level of discourse, we are protecting you." The apex court also issued a notice to Assam, and Uttar Pradesh Police to club all the FIRs against Khera.