AAP accuses BJP of manhandling its workers at DefExpo venue

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Panaji, Feb 27 (IANS) The AAP in Goa on Saturday accused BJP workers of manhandling them and raising ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ slogans during a face-off at the DefExpo site at Betul village, 45 km from here late Friday.

Addressing a press conference, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Valmiki Naik accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government in Goa of trying to impose the Expo on Betul in South Goa, without following transparent processes.

“We were present at the DefExpo site waiting to meet the chief minister and ask him for clarifications. Two BJP MLAs and other party workers started manhandling us and shouting slogans like ‘Pakistan Murdabad’. They should stop branding people like this,” Naik said.

Speaking to IANS, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said he was unaware of the incident.

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“Maybe the BJP workers were protesting against what is happening at the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) which is why the slogans,” Tendulkar said.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar visited the DefExpo 2016 site to take stock of the preparations for hosting the event.

Traditionally held in the national capital, the Defence Expo is scheduled to be held in Goa this year because a new convention centre is being built at its regular venue Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

However, the DefExpo 2016, which is the ninth in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibitions organised by the Defence Ministry, has attracted opposition from the ruling BJP-led coalition government’s political opponents as well as a section of the civil society over the allocation of six lakh sq mts of land at Betul.

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Parsekar and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, a former chief minister of Goa, however, said the land was only being handed over to the defence ministry on a temporary basis and the event would benefit local entrepreneurs and service providers.

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