New Delhi: Former president of the Indian National Congress and senior politician Rahul Gandhi and party’s General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were detained as they headed to Hathras to meet the family of the gang-rape victim who died on Tuesday and whose dead-of-night cremation by the UP police has provoked India-wide outrage.
Rahul Gandhi, according to a report by NDTV, was pushed to the ground and lathi-charged when he and Priyanka Gandhi were marching on the highway between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Gandhi said that their convoy was stopped by Uttar Pradesh policemen and they were taken by policemen back to Delhi.
“Why are you arresting me? What are the grounds for the arrest? Please tell the media what sections are they,” Rahul Gandhi said in a heated exchange with policemen, who said that they were charging him with “Section 188” – a law on defying official orders.
The police argued that large gatherings were banned in the area, the report said.
In a video viral on social media, the Congress leader was seen resisting policemen who were trying to stop him. The Congress MP, pushed around in the chaos, fell to the ground.
“Just now police pushed me, lathi-charged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi Ji walk in this country? Can’t a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking,” Rahul Gandhi said, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Priyanka Gandhi started a foot-march as her convoy was stopped, the report mentioned.
The Gandhis also briefly sat on the road with hundreds of supporters.
Ahead of the Congress leaders’ visit, the UP administration had this morning put up barricades on the roads to Hathras citing coronavirus.
Besides Congress, the Samajwadi Party also protested at the Hathras border, where they were stopped from proceeding to the woman’s village. Since morning, reporters had also been barred from the village.
The woman, 20, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Delhi. She had suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and severe spinal injury when she was assaulted by four upper-caste Hindu men from her village on September 14.
The police said there was a gash in her tongue because she had bitten it when the men were trying to strangle her.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi said: “All this is a shameful move of the UP government to suppress the Dalits and show them their ‘place’ in the society. Our fight is against this hateful thinking.”
Rahul Gandhi was an MP from Uttar Pradesh for three terms until he lost in his family stronghold Amethi last year.
In a series of tweets, Priyanka Gandhi said she had been on the phone with the woman’s father when he learnt of her death.
“I was on the phone with the Hathras victim’s father when he was informed that his daughter had passed away. I heard him cry out in despair,” tweeted the Congress general secretary on Wednesday.
Free Press Kashmir is now on Telegram. Click here to Join.