Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister and the party’s in-charge for Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi were on Thursday taken into police custody and prevented from reaching Hathras where they wanted to meet family members of the gangrape-cum-murder victim. They were stopped at Yamuna Expressway more than 200 km from Hathras.
The Uttar Pradesh Police has put blockades at several places right from Noida to Hathras to prevent the entry of anyone to the district.
The body of the Dalit victim who succumbed to injuries she sustained about a fortnight back in her native village was brought from Delhi, where she was referred for treatment, and the last rites were performed at the dead of night under strict police supervision two days back. No members of her family were allowed to take part in the last rites and see the body. This action of the UP Police further fuelled the anger of the people not only in Hathras but across the state.
The opposition parties have condemned the failure of police in first booking the main accused and subsequently the high-handed manner in which the family members and other relatives were not allowed to take the body of the girl.
A large number of Congress workers and other people gathered at the spot where Rahul and Priyanka were stopped by the Police. They raised slogans against the Yogi government and UP Police.
Rahul, who got down from his vehicle, walked towards the Police and with a folded hand pleaded before them to allow him and his sister to proceed further. A sizeable number of Congress party supporters had also gathered there. This was followed by a scuffle with Police and Rahul fell down.
Rahul, Priyanka and others decided to sit on dharna in protest against the police action. However, they were later arrested. Rahul was then heard asking policemen under which Section he and other people are being arrested.
After his repeated insistence the Police officer on duty replied that they are being arrested under Section 188 for violating Section 144. Rahul then asked where is the question of violating 144 when he wants to go alone. In between he calmed down his supporters.
On the other hand in the native village of the victim in Hathras district, no one, even journalists were allowed entry. Even the lawyer of Nirbhaya case who wanted to take up this case on her own was prevented from entering the village.