Rahul, Priyanka detained while proceeding to Hathras

Media entry stopped inside gang rape victims village

The Uttar Pradesh Police stopped former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on the Yamuna Expressway on Thursday afternoon. The two leaders along with Congress workers were marching towards Hathras to meet the family of the gang-rape victim before they were stopped before Jewar toll plaza.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being stopped by Uttar Pradesh police. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement | The Hindu

Police sources said they have been detained under Section 188 of the IPC for violating prohibitive orders. The leaders have been taken to the Buddh International Circuit, the racing track in Greater Noida.

When Mr. Gandhi told officials that he would leave his convoy behind and would go alone on foot, it led to an impasse resulting in police pushing Congress workers.

In the melee that ensued, Mr. Gandhi fell down and suffered some bruises on the arm. After that he sat down on a dharna on the Expressway.

Confirming the sequence of events Shyoraj Jeeven, senior Congress leader from Hathras, said it reflected the autocratic behaviour of the UP police. “The police indulged in lathi charge. Had they used such force to nab the culprits, things would have been different,” he said.

Earlier in the day, vehicles of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit gang-rape victim, were stopped in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida on Thursday, party officials said.

The convoy was stopped near Pari Chowk, prompting party workers and senior leaders to proceed on foot, with some functionaries saying they would walk down to Hathras.

Around the same time last year, we were fighting for the Unnao daughter and the situation in U.P. has not changed in a year, Priyanka Gandhi told reporters as she started walking on the expressway.

The Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath must take responsibility for women’s safety in the state and ensure atrocities against them are stopped, she added.

The Hathras administration has blocked entry to the Boolagarhi village of the victim of gangrape and brutal assault on Thursday morning.

Vikrant Vir, Suprintendent of Police, Hathras said section 144 was already in place in the district and only the media was allowed entry inside the village on Wednesday. “Now that the three-member SIT is working in the village and there is COVID 19 scare in the area, we have blocked media entry to the village.” Mr. Vir said it is a congested village and with people not adhering to social distancing and other protocols, there is a real possibility of the virus spreading in the area. “Already three of our men have tested positive,” he told The Hindu.

The girl passed away in Delhi on Tuesday and was cremated in the village in the wee hours of Wednesday by the district administration. The family alleged that they were kept out of the last rites as asked the administration to wait till morning.

On the possible visit of senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to meet the family of the victim on Thursday, Mr Vir said, “Though we haven’t received any official communication, if they visit, they would be stopped at the border. We want the family to settle down and not get influenced by social and political groups.”

He said identity cards would be checked before allowing the locals to enter the village.

Meanwhile, members of Samajwadi party who were protesting outside the village on Wednesday were tried to cross the police barricade and enter the village.

With inputs from The Hindu

(This story has not been edited by Kashmir Today staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)