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Old news of Congress leader getting arrested and lashed in Saudi viral again: Here is how he got into trouble for holding Bharat Jodo poster in front of Kaaba

In January, the youth Congress leader shared his picture where he, in a show of allegiance to the Gandhi scion, posed with a poster of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ during the Haj pilgrimage. He was soon arrested and thrown in jail by the Saudi police.

On Thursday, October 12, an 8-month-old picture of a youth Congress leader Raza Kadri holding a placard to support Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Joda Yatra in front of Kaaba in Mecca went viral on social media. The old viral picture resurfaced after the Congress leader, after spending 8 months in Saudi Arabia jail, returned to India last week.

Several social media users shared the old picture of the Congress youth leader on X, formally Twitter, with assertions that he was jailed and received 99 lashes from the Saudi authorities as punishment for insulting the Kaaba.

In January this year, the youth Congress leader Raza Kadri, a resident of Niwari district near Jhansi in Madhya Pradesh, shared his picture where he, in a show of allegiance to the Gandhi scion, posed with a poster of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ during the Haj pilgrimage. In the picture, the Congress leader stood with a poster of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in his hand against the backdrop of the Kaaba, the Islamic shrine located near the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca and considered by Muslims everywhere to be the most sacred spot on Earth.

Notably, displaying any type of flag or placard is unlawful action in Saudi Arabia including at Islamic holy sites. The Indian Consulate has time and again advised its citizens to comply with the rules. For obvious reasons, Kadri’s public display of loyalty towards his boss did not sit well with the Saudi authorities.

Two days after the picture of Raza Kadri surfaced on social media, the Saudi police hunted him down at the hotel where he was staying along with other pilgrims of Madhya Pradesh; promptly arrested and put him behind bars, where he was subjected to an eight-month sentence and received 99 lashes as punishment.

On October 4, 2023, the youth Congress leader returned to India after he was released from the Saudi jail. Now following his release and return to India, his old picture has resurfaced on social media.

After returning, the youth Congress leader, in an interview with the Hindi daily Bhaskar, shared his harrowing experience in the Saudi jail. He revealed how he was kept in a dark and dingy room and not allowed to sleep for the first two months in jail. He was given only 2 pieces of bread to eat for lunch and dinner and was not allowed to speak to his family back in India.

The Congress leader recounted how he was tricked by the Saudi police and arrested from his hotel at around 2 a.m. in the night on January 26, 2023. The police covered his face with a black mask handcuffed him and brought him to the police station. He was told that he had flouted Saudi Arabia’s rules which is why he was arrested.

After arrest, he was thrown into the Dhahban Central Prison also known as Dhahban Prison, a maximum security prison facility located near Dahaban, Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. For the next two months, he was kept in a dark room and interrogated every day.

Further recounting the torture he went through the Congress leader said that the Saudi police used a lie detector machine to verify every answer he gave to them. Before going through the lie detector test he was fed some liquid which made him very drowsy, however, he was not allowed to sleep. The authorities used to throw water on him to keep him awake.

He added that he was confined to that dark gloomy chamber in Dhahban Central Prison for six months. Neither did he see the sunlight nor the face of a single human being. After experiencing a mental breakdown, he was sent to a psychotherapist who incidentally was an Indian.

The doctor advised the jail superintendent to transfer him to a normal jail. To his luck, the jailer took the advice and after two days he was transferred to a normal jail, where he recalled his condition was no better. Indian housed in that jail were discriminated against, Raza Kadri revealed, adding that they were provided insects and bug-infested blankets and beddings and served food in areas which were dirty.

Finally, on October 2, the Congress leader was released from jail and he returned to India on October 4, 2023. Recounting the torture he was subjected to by Saudi Arabia authorities, the Congress leader said, “yahan aakar aisa laga ki jahannam aisa hi hota hoga” (once I came back I realised this is how hell must be like).

Bharat Jodo Yatra- here is how Congress scion Rahul Gandhi’s container rally was a vanity project

The Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi’s brainchild, began on September 7, 2022, in Kanyakumari and concluded on January 30, 2023, in Kashmir’s Srinagar. It began at a time when Congress was facing dissent, resignations, internal tussle, and so on. All in all, Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was more of a vanity project launched in a desperate attempt to revive the grand old party and moreover relaunch the Gandhi scion.

All the PR and marketing of the supposed foot march was all for nothing as it turned out that the Gandhi scion along with his team was rallying with 59 luxury containers equipped with beds, attached bathrooms, air-conditioners, couches, mini conference halls and what have you. The entire fiasco cost nearly Rs 300 crore.

It had several controversies to its credit, details of which can be read here.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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