Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was detained at Chunar guest house in Mirzapur on Friday after she sat on dharna to insist that she be allowed to go to Sonbhadra to meet the families of those killed and injured in the firing on Wednesday. Party leaders later staged protests in several districts against the police action to stop her from going to Sonbhadra.
UP DGP O P Singh said that Priyanka and others were not allowed to go there because CrPC Section 144 was in force in Sonbhadra district to maintain peace.
On Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath blaming policies of Congress governments in 1955 and 1989 for the incident, Priyanka said, “This is too much. Such murders are taking place during your rule and you are blaming the Congress government of 1955. You are the Chief Minister, so whose duty is it to stop such incidents? It is your responsibility. It seems there is no law and order or governance considering the prevailing circumstances.” She was speaking to reporters while sitting on dharna on the Varanasi-Mirzapur border.
Refusing to budge even at night, AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi says “ready to go to jail”, if that is what UP Govt wants for just trying to meet the victims. @IndianExpress
— Maulshree Seth (@MaulshreeSeth) July 19, 2019
Earlier, she reached Varanasi to meet the victims admitted at Banaras Hindu University. As she tried to go towards Sonbhadra, she was stopped by police who cited Section 144. Priyanka said she would go only with four partymen, but the police refused permission, following which she sat on dharna. The Congress alleged that Priyanka was arrested, and organised protests in various parts of Uttar Pradesh including Lucknow.
Additional Director General, Varanasi zone, Braj Bhushan said, “No one was arrested. We did not allow Priyanka and others to go to the spot fearing it may cause a law and order problem.”
After she was taken to Chunar guest house, Priyanka said, “The villagers had warned that such a thing might happen.” She alleged that she was stopped by the police who failed to show any papers, and that there were orders from higher up.
As Priyanka and Congress workers remained at the guest house, where there was no electricity till late night, Congress leaders alleged that power was purposely disconnected. The workers shared photographs of Priyanka interacting with them in the light of mobile phones even as party leader Raj Babbar tweeted, “Prashashanne Chunar guest house mein bilji-pani ki supply band kar di hai.” He also wrote that if the administration thinks that Priyanka would go back fearing such tactics, then they are mistaken.
Priyanka tweeted, “It is the duty of the UP government to catch the criminals. It is my duty to stand with the victims of crime. The BJP has failed to stop the crime but is stopping me from fulfilling my duty.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi came out in support of his sister and tweeted, “The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land, reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP.”
AICC general secretary in charge of organisation K C Venugopal wrote to all state units to organise demonstrations to “register anger against the arrest and atrocities done over common man by the BJP government”.
“By arresting Priyanka Gandhi, keeping her in Chunar, will the UP government be able to cover up the killing of 10 people of a tribal family in Sonbhadra?” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.