Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reached the Saharanpur border on Saturday afternoon and interacted with locals who have been affected by caste-based violence in the district. “The government has failed on law and order in Uttar Pradesh. Everybody in the country who is not powerful is scared and this is not the way to run a country,” said the Congress vice-president, reported news agency ANI. Rahul had been denied permission by the UP police and the district administration to visit the district due to law and order problems. He was accompanied by UP Congress chief Raj Babbar and senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“The administration has requested me so I will be going back, but they have said they will take me to the affected villages once the situation improves,” Rahul said on reaching the border. He slammed the Central government for creating an atmosphere of fear in the country and oppressing minorities. “The national government is spreading fear across the country. Dalits are being oppressed. This is not only in Saharanpur but all over India. Rohith Vemula was oppressed and every day crores of people are being oppressed.”
He went on to say the government only listens to suit-boot type people and not the poor. Speaking about Kashmir, the Congress vice-president said when there is peace in the Valley, India stands to gain, but when there is violence, Pakistan stands to gain.
Earlier in the day, ADG (Law and Order) Aditya Mishra had said Rahul Gandhi would be stopped at Saharanpur border if he tried to enter the district. The police did try to stop the Congress vice-president but the latter continued his journey to reach the clash-affected area to take stock of the situation.
On May 5, one person was killed and at least 15 others, including a police officer, injured when members of two caste groups, Thakurs and Dalits, clashed over loud music being played during a procession. Clashes again broke out on May 23, when one person was killed and four injured. On Wednesday, May 24, three more people were injured in a round of fresh violence in the district.