As thousands of people gathered to get a glimpse of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Arthala on Saturday morning, a 32-year-old widow tried to block his cavalcade.
Gandhi visited Arthala to meet a woman party worker who was injured while burning an effigy during a protest near Old bus stand against the Central government over the issue of price rise on Wednesday.
The widow, Rita Singh, wanted to talk to Gandhi about the murder of her husband Murari Singh. She chased the cavalcade and tried to stop the cars but fainted.
Murari was beaten to death allegedly by locals following a minor altercation over hanging wires on Tuesday.
“She is depressed after losing her husband, who was the only earning member in the family. When she heard about Rahul Gandhi’s arrival, she ran to his cavalcade and tried to stop the cars. She thought if he can come to see an injured woman, he will surely listen to her plight as well. But security personnel moved the car ahead and she ran behind it. But she fainted and we had to carry her to her house,” said Ram Babu Singh, Murari’s relative.
After the woman fainted, locals shouted slogans against Rahul Gandhi and tore posters put up by his party.
“It was a minor altercation over a hanging wire. The other group beat Murari brutally with rods and sticks. Some of our relatives who came from a nearby colony for help were also beaten. We have lodged a complaint,” said Ram Babu Singh.
“We want the guilty to be punished. We do not know who will help us. We seek help from everyone. So my aunt chased Rahul Gandhi’s cavalcade but he did not stop,” said Sanjeev Singh, Rita’s nephew.
Officials from the Uttar Pradesh police said the family named seven persons in the murder case.
“All seven accused have been arrested. The family was demanding compensation and tried to block Rahul Gandhi’s cavalcade. But, his car had already passed and the family members tried to block the other cars following his vehicle,” said Ashish Srivastava, circle officer at Sahibabad.
Meanwhile, local residents also tried to meet Rahul Gandhi to highlight the poor civic condition in their locality.
They said the streets in the area were cleaned and piles of garbage were covered with lime dust to hide the unhygienic surroundings during Gandhi’s visit.