Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday, 12 February met the families of jailed anti-CAA protesters in Akhilesh Yadav's stronghold — Azamgarh, days after her party targeted the SP chief for not finding time to visit his parliamentary constituency.
The Congress general secretary dubbed the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre “anti-poor and anti-people” and said raising one’s voice in a democracy is not a crime.
Last week, police dispersed Muslim women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) Maulana Jauhar Park in Azamgarh.
An FIR was registered against 135 people, mostly unnamed, and 20 arrested, police had said.
The protesters alleged they were lathi-charged and the venue deliberately flooded to thwart the agitation.
‘Stand Up Against BJP’s Anti-Constitution Stance’
Addressing people in Bilhariaganj locality from the top of her SUV, Priyanka Gandhi said, “Whatever happened with you was wrong, was injustice. All of us will stand against injustice.” She claimed that the BJP government is destroying the Constitution and urged people to save it.
“You all have to stand up because all the laws which they are planning to bring in are not against one community, but against the entire Constitution,” she said as the crowd chanted slogans.
Akhilesh is ‘Missing’
Her visit came against the backdrop of the recent appearance of posters claiming that Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav is “missing” from his Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency.
They questioned the MP’s “absence” after the police action on women protesting against the CAA here last week.
“The SP leader claims to be a well-wisher of Muslims but has confined himself to merely tweeting on police brutality on women protesters,” UP Congress minority cell leader Nadeem Javed had said.
Asserting that the Congress will stand with peaceful protesters, Priyanka Gandhi said, “I heard the womenfolk. I had gone to Bijnor, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Lucknow, Varanasi and other places where police and the administration committed atrocities.”
She said a report drafted by the Congress was submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and she would also send names of policemen who committed “atrocities” in Azamgarh.
‘Congress Stands by You’
“The Congress party stands by you today. It will stand by you tomorrow and will continue to stand by you till you get justice," she added.
Before addressing the crowd, Gandhi met family members of some protesters and offered sweets to children.
“She met us like a family member and asked us what exactly happened on 4 February,” a woman later said.
“We want our leader Tahir Madni and those against whom false cases have been registered released,” the local resident said, referring to the Ulema Council general secretary who was also arrested.
She said that Gandhi told them that her party will raise the issue in the Lok Sabha and the UP Assembly.
Ahead of the visit, the Congress leaders tweeted in Hindi, “Raising one's voice in a democracy is not a crime. And it is my duty to stand with those against whom crime has been committed.” This is her second visit to eastern Uttar Pradesh in less than a week after her Varanasi trip on Sunday for Ravidas Jayanti.