Youth Congress members, who were protesting against demonetisation outside the office of Reserve Bank of India in New Delhi, were detained by the Delhi Police on Friday.

The security forces forcibly took the protesters, who were accompanied by senior party leaders, to the police station in a bus.

“Around 70-80 Congress protesters, including Ashok Gehlot, Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda have been detained,” said an officer.

The protesters wore masks and shouted slogans against the BJP-led government.

Amrish Ranjan Pandey, national spokesperson of the Youth Congress, said the protest was aimed at “highlighting the miseries of the nation since the last two years under the Modi regime”.

“It is a protest against the ‘failed’ demonetisation of the Modi government wherein common people suffered its grave consequences,” he said.

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that bank notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations would cease to exist as legal tenders.

The withdrawal of the notes had led to a liquidity crunch and people stood in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs to exchange old notes.

On Thursday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had called the note ban a “cruel conspiracy” and a “criminal financial scam”.

Read | Havoc demonetisation caused on economy is now evident: Manmohan Singh

“November 8th will forever go down in the history of India, as a day of infamy,” said Gandhi, adding that “note ban was a planned and cruel conspiracy. This scam was a scheme to launder black money of the Prime Minister’s cronies,” he said.

The Congress chief said Modi’s unilateral announcement two years ago brought the economy to a grinding halt and it didn’t even have the “support of his own economic advisors”.

“Demonetisation was a tragedy. It is unique in the history of our tragedies because it was a self-inflicted, suicidal attack that destroyed millions of lives and ruined thousands of India’s small businesses. The worst hit by demonetisation were the poorest of the poor, people who were forced to queue up for days for their meagre savings,” he said in a statement.

Gandhi reminded that over 120 people “died” in queues, and millions of small and medium businesses were smashed and the entire informal sector “devastated”.

He said demonetisation cost India over one-and-a-half million jobs and wiped out at least 1 per cent from the GDP.

The opposition parties have criticised the exercise as “ill-advised” and “disastrous” for the country, but the government has maintained that the move helped increase the tax base and allowed greater formalisation of the economy.

 

(With agency inputs)