Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was on Saturday prevented from visiting Saharanpur’s caste violence-hit Shabbirpur village. He was forced to stop at a dhaba, where he met some victims of the violence after he was denied permission for the visit. “First, I demanded that we be allowed to go to the hospital, but that was not allowed. Then I tried to go to the village, it was not allowed,” he said. Rahul said that the job of the chief minister and administration is to protect the weak. “They should start doing that job,’’ he added.
Congress district president Shashi Walia said that Rahul and other leaders left their cars and walked about half-a-kilometer to reach the dhaba. “At the dhaba, Rahul met 12 riot victims, mostly from Shabbirpur village, and listened to their grievances. He promised them to provide all possible help,’’ he said.
Saharanpur district magistrate Pramod Kumar said that they stopped them from moving further after Rahul’s convoy crossed the Yamuna bridge in the district. “They requested to be allowed to at least go to the hospital to meet the injured persons but we did not allow them. After staying at a dhaba for sometime, Rahul and others returned,” he said. Kumar said that they told them that they will be welcomed after the situation in Saharanpur returns to normalcy.
Earlier, Rahul said that fear was being spread across the country. “Be it Dalits, minorities, tribals, poor or farmers, there is an attempt to scare everyone. The government only listens to the rich and the suited and booted and works only for them,’’ he said. Rahul said that there is no place for the poor and weak in today’s India. “Dalits are being trampled and oppressed. And this is happening not just in Saharanpur. This is happening across the country. Rohit Vemula was trampled and oppressed. Every day, crores are being oppressed,’’ he said. He added that the government’s job is to protect every Indian. “And the government is not doing that job,’’ he said.