New Delhi: Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Thursday were arrested in Greater Noida while on their way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.
Rahul and Priyanka, who is the UP Congress general secretary, were on their way to meet the family of the Hathras woman who died Tuesday after being gang raped and assaulted. Their convoy was stopped, resulting in the entourage proceeding on foot on the Yamuna Expressway Highway.
“We have stopped them here. The Epidemic Act is being violated. We will not allow them to proceed forward,” reportedly said Noida ADCP Ranvijay Singh.
Police said Rahul was arrested under Section 188 IPC “for violation of an order”.
Visuals captured by news agencies show a scuffle between Rahul Gandhi and the UP Police. Rahul could be heard asking the police: “I want to walk to Hathras alone. Please tell me under which section are you arresting me.”
Rahul also fell down in the melee. The Gandhis were then taken away in a police jeep. Several other senior leaders were also arrested.
#WATCH Rahul Gandhi, who has been stopped at Yamuna Expressway on his way to Hathras, asks police, "I want to walk to Hathras alone. Please tell me under which section are you arresting me."
Police says, "We are arresting you under Section 188 IPC for violation of an order. " pic.twitter.com/uJKwPxauv5
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 1, 2020
#WATCH Just now police pushed me, lathicharged 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: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Yamuna Expressway,on his way to #Hathras pic.twitter.com/nhu2iJ78y8
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 1, 2020
"Violence is the weapon of the weak, non-violence that of the strong."
— Congress (@INCIndia) October 1, 2020
The Congress leaders’ convoy was stopped near Pari Chowk, prompting party workers and senior leaders to proceed on foot, with some functionaries saying they will walk down to Hathras.
The administration in Hathras imposed prohibitory orders in the district to ensure law and order. “Section 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure) has been imposed in the district. It will be in force till October 31,” District Magistrate P.K. Lakshkar said Thursday. The administration had also ordered the sealing of the borders of Hathras district.
At the start of the march, Priyanka Gandhi told reporters, “Around the same time last year, we were fighting for the Unnao daughter and the situation in UP has not changed in a year.”
The Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath must take responsibility for women safety in the state and ensure atrocities against them are stopped, she added.
Priyanka also put out pictures of party workers bleeding from their arm and forehead, alleging that they were assaulted with lathis.
हाथरस जाने से हमें रोका। राहुल जी के साथ हम सब पैदल निकले तो बारबार हमें रोका गया, बर्बर ढंग से लाठियाँ चलाईं। कई कार्यकर्ता घायल हैं। मगर हमारा इरादा पक्का है। एक अहंकारी सरकार की लाठियाँ हमें रोक नहीं सकतीं। काश यही लाठियाँ, यही पुलिस हाथरस की दलित बेटी की रक्षा में खड़ी होती। pic.twitter.com/lRq9kLSHJz
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) October 1, 2020
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram 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,” he said.
“What is wrong if the leaders of a political party protest against a gruesome crime and wish to visit the victim’s family,” he posted on Twitter.
Chidambaram said the two leaders were not violent, they did not carry arms and they were lodging a peaceful protest. “Why should the police stop them from protesting peacefully? Why should the UP police arrest the two leaders and take them away?
“I hope the court where the leaders will be produced will release them,” he reportedly said.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)