After being detained on her way to meeting the victims of the Sonbhadra shootout incident where 10 people were killed, Congress General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East) Priyanka Gandhi on Friday, 19 July, asked the state government to stop crimes instead of her.
Priyanka, who landed in Varanasi and met the injured people at the BHU Trauma Centre, was stopped in Narainpur while she was on her way to Sonbhadra. She was taken to the Chunar guesthouse nearby after she sat on a 'dharna'.
The Congress on Saturday alleged that the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh wants to "deport" Priyanka so that she cannot meet the victims of the Sonbhadra clash.
"BJP government fails to prevent Sonbhadra Massacre. BJP government fails to act against guilty. BJP government illegally arrests Priyanka ji for wanting to meet families," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet.
Surjewala also questioned why there was police vigil in all parts of the village when the people there are waiting to meet Priyanka and give a call to justice.
OTHERS JOINING PRIYANKA GANDHI IN SONBHADRA
A four-member Parliamentary delegation of Trinamool Congress (TMC) led by Derek O'Brien were supposed to visit Sonbhadra on Saturday, ANI reports said.
However, the team was detained at Varanasi airport on Saturday, according to a tweet put out by the party’s Twitter handle.
Sources also told News18 that actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar is also supposed to join Priyanka in Mirzapur soon. Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel will also go to Chunar to meet Priyanka on Saturday, ANI reported.
WHAT DID PRIYANKA GANDHI SAY?
Gandhi, in a tweet in Hindi, said that nothing will stop her from standing in support of the victims.
“The duty of the Uttar Pradesh government is to catch the accused. My duty is to stand for the victims. BJP has failed to stop the crime, but is stopping me from performing my duty. Nobody can stop me from standing in support of the victims. Kindly stop the crime!”
“We still won’t be cowed down. We were only going peacefully to meet victim families. I don’t know where are they taking me, we are ready to go anywhere,” Gandhi said after being stopped.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER PRIYANKA GANDHI WAS DETAINED?
After Priyanka Gandhi was detained, the Congress announced that it may organise a statewide ‘dharna’ (demonstration) to register its protest.
Scores of Congress activists led by the party's Delhi unit working president Haroon Yusuf burnt an effigy of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the street near the BJP’s head office.
The protesters carried placards reading "the Modi government is scared of Priyanka Gandhi" and raised anti-government slogans.
Maharashtra Congress, led by chief Balasaheb Thorat, also protested in Mumbai. Thorat accused the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh of "arresting" Priyanka Gandhi as it was "afraid of her".
He also charged the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh with functioning in an authoritarian manner.
Priyanka's 'Arrest' Unconstitutional, Let Democracy Not Turn into Dictatorship: Robert Vadra
Priyanka's husband Robert Vadra lashed out at the Uttar Pradesh government for detaining his wife, saying the dispensation should immediately release her and not let democracy turn into dictatorship.
"The way my wife and Congress leader, Priyanka, has been arrested, is completely unconstitutional. No documents were produced for the arrest," Vadra tweeted.
"Is it a crime to visit the family of the deceased?" Vadra said.
"The state government should immediately release her and let democracy be a democracy and not a dictatorship," he added.
‘Priyanka’s Illegal Arrest Disturbing’: Rahul Gandhi Hits Out at BJP Govt
Congress leader and her brother Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, called the act “disturbing”. In a tweet, Gandhi said the detention of Gandhi reveals the BJP government’s increasing “insecurity” in the state.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT
The clash over land led to the deaths of 10 people, with one person succumbing to injuries later.
Eighteen others were injured when Dutt and his supporters allegedly opened fire at a rival group, leading to the clash. The deceased belonged to the Gond tribe.
According to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath five officials have been suspended so far and 29 people have been arrested. He also said “responsibility will be fixed and justice will be given to the victims. Those involved in the act will not be spared.”
Police on Thursday arrested the main accused, the village headman Yagya Dutt, whose henchmen opened fire on villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra when they tried to stop Dutt from taking possession of a disputed piece of land.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)