Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was on her way to meet kin of farmers who died during the violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on Sunday, 3 October, was arrested on Monday morning, Congress’ youth wing national president Srinivas BV claimed.
In videos tweeted by Srinivas, Gandhi can be seen contesting the police for stopping her, saying, "I am not more important than the people you have killed. The government you are defending. You give me a legal warrant, a legal basis or else I will not move from here and you won't touch me."
Later on Monday, in a video doing the rounds on the internet, she was also seen sweeping the floor of the room in which she has been detained. According to youth Congress leader Srinivas BV, who tweeted a video of the same, Priyanka has also started to fast while in detention.
Priyanka Gandhi had reached the Lucknow airport on Sunday evening, following the death of farmers after being allegedly run over by the car of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Ajay Mishra.
Meanwhile, a case of murder has been registered against Ashish Mishra.
Congress Leaders Detained, Not Allowed to Visit Kin of Deceased
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was also detained on Monday in relation to the incident, but was released soon after.
Speaking against the incident, Sidhu had said, "People who ran vehicles on peaceful protesting farmers should be arrested. A case of sedition should be registered against Haryana CM ML Khattar for his statement." Earlier on Monday, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Pramod Tiwari were also placed under house arrest in the latter’s house in Lucknow. They were going to help Priyanka Gandhi with legal aid.
Later in the day, Punjab Deputy CM Sukhjinder Randhawa, Congress leader Kuljit Nagra and other party leaders were also detained by the UP police in Saharanpur, on the way to Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the families of the farmers, reported ANI.
Further, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel slammed the UP government for denying his plane permission to land at the Lucknow airport, as he was scheduled to visit Lakhimpur Kheri.
He was later quoted as saying, "Why are not we allowed to go there (Lakhimpur Kheri) and meet victim families? Yesterday, police misbehaved with Priyanka Gandhi and stopped her in Sitapur without any warrant. Is sympathizing with anyone now a crime?" news agency ANI reported.
He added, "BJP wants to suppress opposition and crush any voice that is against them. Haryana CM ML Khattar's statement also shows their mentality that wants to end every opposition. This is dictatorship. We will not tolerate it."
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was denied permission to land his chopper in Lakhimpur Kheri. UP Home Department wrote to Punjab government's Civil Aviation Department and stated, "Due to imposition of Section 144 in Lakhimpur Kheri, it's not possible to grant permission for the visit of Punjab CM and Deputy CM," ANI reported.
'Was Placed Under Arrest Without Any Paperwork': Priyanka Gandhi
Speaking to NDTV from custody, Gandhi further said she has no idea where she is currently being detained and wants to know why she has been arrested.
"I don't know where I am; placed me under arrest without any paperwork," she told NDTV.
She also said she was "manhandled, pushed and shoved" and that the UP police followed her convoy and tried to stop them at various points while they were on the way to Lakhimpur Kheri.
Further, she went on to say she will continue with her journey and meet the families of the deceased once she is released.
"I have been arrested but the minister has not resigned, his son has not been arrested. How would I have caused a riot with my visit? I want to know which nationalist makes laws that destroy the farming community of a nation hugely dependent on agriculture," Gandhi said, as per NDTV.
At least eight people died in clashes. Farmer leaders on Sunday claimed that at least five of the deceased were farmers. The others, sources say, were the occupants of the car that allegedly ran over them.
Srinivas said in a tweet in Hindi, “Finally that, which was expected of BJP, has happened. In the democratic country of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, the worshippers of ‘Godse’ have arrested our leader @priyankagandhi Ji who fought with heavy rains and police force to meet the ‘Annadata’ from Hargaon. This is just the beginning of the fight!! Kisan Ekta Zindabad.”
Asserting that there was no legal basis to stop her, Priyanka Gandhi said to a policeman in one of the videos, "If you put me in that car I will charge you with kidnapping. And the charge will not be against the police but you."
While Gandhi lashed out at the BJP-led UP government and asserted that she wasn’t committing a crime, Lakhimpur Kheri District Magistrate Arvind Kumar Chaurasia said, “Four farmers and four others have died (in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident). Probe underway. It’s an unfortunate incident, should not be politicised”, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) issued a statement regarding the incident and alleged that one of the four farmers was shot dead by Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s son while the others were allegedly run over by the vehicles of his convoy.
MoS Teni however, has denied SKM’s allegations and claimed that his son was not present at the spot. Teni added that “some miscreants” merged with protesting farmers and pelted stones on the car, which led to the incident.
(With inputs from ANI.)
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