Congress protest note ban outside RBI office, demand governor quit


Mumbai/Nagpur (Maharashtra), Jan 18: Staging a vociferous countrywide protests against demonetisation on Wednesday, the Congress demanded the resignation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel even as police baton-charged them in Nagpur.

Leading a protest march to the RBI headquarters in Mumbai, state and city Congress Presidents Ashok Chavan and Sanjay Nirupam, respectively, accused Patel of being “a puppet, dancing to the tunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party government” by changing policies 69 times since November 8 when Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes were spiked.

They said the entire country had been held “at ransom”, the 125 crore population was suffering, the economy was in a crisis and the independence of RBI itself was in peril, so Patel must immediately quit his post.

In Nagpur, the protesters led by former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former state party chief Manikrao Thakre and others raised anti-government slogans against demonetisation and laid siege to the RBI office.

When some protesting activists tried to barge into the RBI building by knocking down barricades, police tried to stop them but failed and undertook a baton-charge.

A few Congress activists sustained minor injuries.

The angry demonstrators then vent their ire on police.

Several Congress leaders, including Chavan, Vikhe-Patil and Vilas Muttemwar, demanded the suspension of policemen who caned the protesters and refused to end their agitation till action was taken.

Chavan said the RBI had been reduced to “a branch of the RSS” and demonetisation had badly affected the Indian economy, resulted in job losses, pushed down production as well as hit the rural masses and farmers badly.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Shiv Sena – BJP’s ally in the centre and Maharashtra, in its most virulent attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called demonetisation “an atom bomb which had made Hiroshima and Nagasaki of the Indian economy”.