Rahul Gandhi detained on way to Hathras, UP police take him back to Delhi
The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) dubbed the proposed visit of Gandhi siblings to Hathras as “political tourism”.Updated: Oct 01, 2020, 20:03 IST
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his sister and party general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other leaders were detained by the police on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit girl - who died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday, a fortnight after she was allegedly gang-raped in her village.
The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) dubbed the proposed visit of Gandhi siblings to Hathras as “political tourism”. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the criminals will be punished for their barbarism. “The probe teams are carrying out the investigation, but I think there should not be political tourism on the same,” he said.
The Gandhis and other Congress leaders were first stopped at Greater Noida on the Yamuna Expressway and later detained when they started walking towards Hathras, around 145 km from Greater Noida.
Taken away in a police jeep, the Gandhis were kept in a guest house for sometime before being released and escorted back to Delhi by the UP police. The Congress had claimed that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were arrested by the police and attacked state chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the move.
“Shri Rahul Gandhi, Smt Priyanka Gandhi and senior Congress leaders have been arrested by the UP police,” the party said on Twitter.
Videos and pictures shared by the Congress showed Rahul Gandhi falling down in the scuffle that ensued when the police tried to stop Congress leaders and supporters from marching towards Hathras near the Jewar toll plaza.
The girl was cremated in the early hours of Wednesday, with her family alleging the local police forced them to conduct the last rites in the dead of the night.
Priyanka Gandhi also alleged that the police used ‘lathis’ on Congress workers and many of them were wounded in the baton-charge.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi was seen asking the UP police under which law he was being stopped and insisted that he would like to proceed alone towards Hathras to meet the rape victim’s family since Section 144 was imposed. Under this section, assembly of four or more people is prohibited.
“Can you tell me under which law can you stop me from marching towards Hathras? I want to go alone to Hathras and on what basis can you arrest me?” he asked, to which police officials replied that he had violated Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of disobeying orders promulgated by the government during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rahul Gandhi also alleged that in India today only RSS people and Prime Minister Narendra Modi can move around. “In today’s India, only Modi can walk or travel by air. No one else can,” he said.
The Congress leader also tweeted, “In times of sorrow, loved ones are not left alone. It is Jungle Raj in UP that meeting a family in mourning also scares the government. Do not be so afraid chief minister.”
Priyanka Gandhi said they were repeatedly stopped from going to Hathras. “When we all started our march on foot with Rahul ji, we were repeatedly stopped and lathis rained on us in a barbaric manner. Many workers were injured. But our intention is clear,” she alleged.
“The sticks of an egotistical government cannot stop us. I wish these lathis were used by this police while standing in defence of Hathras’s Dalit daughter,” she also tweeted in Hindi.
“An arrogant power is demonstrating its power over the dead bodies of innocent girls and it is indulging in injustice, instead of preventing it. Our struggle for women will continue for a safe society and state, where they can live freely and progress,” Priyanka Gandhi said in another tweet.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also posted a video with a tweet showing Rahul Gandhi allegedly being manhandled.
“Lala Lajpat Rai had said that every blow of a stick on my body would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the British Raj. The sticks on Rahul ji and Priyanka ji’s convoy will also prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the Yogi government,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Former union finance minister P Chidambaram also alleged that none of the country’s laws seemed to apply to the UP police.
“UP police is a law into itself. None of the laws of the country seem to apply to it. What is wrong if the leaders of a political party protest against a gruesome crime and wish to visit the victim’s family?” he asked on Twitter.
The Congress has demanded Adityanath’s resignation over the gruesome incident that it said was a “blot” on the society. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said the ‘Nirbhaya of Hathras’ did not die but was killed by a “cruel and insensitive” government and its administration.
In a video message, she said the country will speak up against this injustice and not allow the BJP to divide the country and violate the Constitution.
Before leaving for Hathras, Rahul Gandhi attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over “jungle raj” in Uttar Pradesh. “The atrocities on daughters continue in UP’s jungle raj. They were not given respect when alive and now the dignity has been taken away even in death. The BJP’s slogan of ‘Beti Bachao’ is not to save girls but to hide facts and save power,” he tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi too attacked Adityanath over the increase in incidents of rape in UP. “Hathras-like gruesome incident has happened in Balrampur. The girl’s feet and back was broken. There have been atrocities on girls in Azamgarh, Baghpat and Bulandshahr. There is no limit to UP’s jungle raj. Law and order cannot be implemented through marketing and speeches. This is the time for the chief minister’s accountability. People want answers,” she tweeted in Hindi.
But the BJP accused the Congress of politicising the issue and said the Uttar Pradesh government would provide justice in the incident.
Without naming the Gandhis, Naqvi said, “Those who are trying to increase the tension through political tourism, should not do that. Everyone is saddened and wants punishment for the culprits. The Uttar Pradesh government is working towards it. You will see the results soon.”
In UP, cabinet minister Siddharth Nath Singh lashed out at the Congress leaders and accused them of politicising the incident. He said the Congress leaders must answer why they haven’t visited Rajasthan where a similar incident of rape has been reported.
Singh said the Hathras gang rape will be heard in a fast track court and the UP chief minister has already declared that a special investigation team (SIT) will probe the matter. “It will be made public in a week’s time,” he said, adding the state government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2,50,000, a house and a job for the family of the victim.