Rahul Reaches Saharanpur, BJP Calls Him “Tragedy Tourist”

The police had requested Gandhi to cancel his visit as it wanted to avoid any “confusion and provocation”.

Updated
India
4 min read
The Congress Vice President left from New Delhi on Saturday morning for Saharanpur. (Photo: Reuters)

Despite being denied permission to visit Saharanpur by district authorities – and heavy deployment of police at the Uttar Pradesh-Haryana border – Rahul Gandhi reached the riot-torn district on Saturday afternoon.

Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav was also denied permission to visit Saharanpur.

Gandhi is supposed to primarily interact with people at Shabbirpur village, where Dalit houses were torched on 5 May, according to Congress sources.

On Friday, Aditya Mishra, the Uttar Pradesh ADG Law and Order, had issued an order to all political parties to refrain from visiting the violence-hit zone until normalcy was restored.

Rahul Gandhi will be stopped at Saharanpur border if he tries to enter the district.
Aditya Mishra, Uttar Pradesh ADG Law and Order

The district authorities had said he will be stopped at the border. Arguing with the authorities, Rahul asked under what law could he be stopped at the border.

Don’t tell me you could have stopped me at the border. What law would apply?

He, however, told the media that he’s going back because the administrative officers asked him to do so, adding that the minute the situation is better, he’ll visit the village.

Addressing the media, he said that Dalits are being subdued in the country.

I wanted to go to Saharanpur but they didn’t allow me. Then I asked to be allowed in the hospital but they didn’t agree and actually they stopped me at the UP border, so I came here. Dalits are being subdued, this is not the case only in Saharanpur but the whole of India. Rohith Vemula was muffled and everyday crores of people are being repressed. The whole of Hindustan, be it Dalit and minority, they are subdued. This government only listens to suited-booted powerful people. 

Speaking on the Kashmir unrest which was recently unleashed with the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat, Rahul said:

Kashmir is burning. The Congress had brought about peace in the state. The BJP has given a foothold to the perpetrators of terrorism.

Reacting to Rahul’s visit to Saharanpur, UP Minister and BJP leader Srikant Sharma called Gandhi a “tragedy tourist”.

Rahul Gandhi is a tragedy tourist. Rahul and company are frustrated. Wherever any tragic incident takes place, he goes there. People of the country had given him 10 years, but he proved to be a flop. People have rejected him. He and leaders of other political parties should co-operate in ensuring peace in the region.

Earlier on Saturday, ADG (Law and Order) Aditya Misra, who has been camping in Saharanpur in view of the tense situation, had said the police requested Gandhi to cancel his visit as it wanted to avoid any "confusion and provocation".

“If he still comes to the town, he will be stopped at the border and requested to return. But if he does not, legal action under Section 144 of CrPC, which prohibits an assembly of more than four people in an area, will be taken,” he said.

The Congress Vice President left from New Delhi on Saturday morning for Saharanpur. (Photo Courtesy: ANI)
The Congress Vice President left from New Delhi on Saturday morning for Saharanpur. (Photo Courtesy: ANI)

The ADG said the situation is now returning to normal and things are improving fast.

Gandhi was accompanied by AICC general secretary in charge of UP affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad, and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar.

They cannot suppress the voice of the poor, Dalits and Adivasis of this country. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party will continue to speak. Nobody will be able to stop Rahul from reaching out to the victims of the violence which have been perpetrated at the instance of BJP gundas.
Randeep Surjewala, Congress Spokesperson

Permission Denied

Rahul Gandhi interacting with the media in Saharanpur. ( Photo: ANI screengrab )
Rahul Gandhi interacting with the media in Saharanpur. ( Photo: ANI screengrab )

Kumar replaced SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey, who was suspended by the UP government on 24 May in the wake of clashes in the district.

BSP chief Mayawati had recently toured the village and lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government for "failing to maintain law and order" in the state.

Saharanpur has witnessed widespread caste-based clashes this month.

Violence first broke out in Saharanpur about 40 days ago following a procession to mark Ambedkar Jayanti. On 5 May, a person was killed and 15 people were injured in clashes between two communities.

About a dozen police vehicles were set ablaze and 12 policemen were injured on 9 May. On 23 May, another person was shot dead and two others were wounded, following which the government suspended the SSP and district magistrate and transferred the divisional commissioner and the deputy inspector general of police.

The Centre has sent 400 anti-riot police personnel to Saharanpur to help the state restore peace in the region.

(With inputs from CNN-News18, ANI, PTI)

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