Family members of the victims in Sonbhadra firing case met Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Saturday at the Chunar guest house in Mirzapur where she was detained on Friday from visiting the district, reported ANI. Twelve members of the affected families met the Congress general secretary at the guesthouse, senior party leader Ajay Rai told PTI.
“My objective has been served as I have met them (victim of Sonbhadra firing). I am still under detention, let’s see what the administration says. Congress party will give a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the person who died in the incident,” Priyanka was quoted by ANI as saying.
The Congress leader was detained and stopped from going to Sonbhadra where 10 people were gunned down this week, triggering a standoff with the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. UP DGP O P Singh had said on Friday that Priyanka and others were not allowed to go there because CrPC Section 144 was in force in Sonbhadra district to maintain peace.
Even as she continues to sit on dharna, the Congress leader insisted earlier today she won’t leave until and unless she is allowed to meet the victims’ entire family. “It has been 24 hours. I am not going to leave until and unless I am allowed to meet the victims of Sonbhadra’s firing case,” Priyanka told ANI. The Congress general secretary also shared a video of aggrieved Sonbhadra families who were seen mourning the death of their near ones. “Is it a crime to wipe these tears?” she asked in a tweet.
क्या इन आँसुओं को पोंछना अपराध है? pic.twitter.com/HdPAEkGJGj
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 20, 2019
Priyanka also questioned the mindset of the Uttar Pradesh administration in dealing with the issue. “Prasashan ko inki (family of victims of Sonbhadra firing case) rakhwali karni chaiye. Jab inke sath hadsa ho raha tha, madad karni chaiye thi. Prasashan ki mansikta meri samaj se bahar hai (The administration should safeguard the family of victims. When the incident happened with them, they should have helped. I don’t understand the mindset of the administration),” Priyanka told ANI.
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.”
In a late-night tweet, she said she is ready to go to jail if she is not allowed to go ahead. In a series of tweets, Priyanka said Uttar Pradesh government sent ADG Varanasi Brij Bhushan, Commissioner Varanasi Deepak Agarwal and DIG to tell her to return without meeting the victims.
“I have clearly stated that I have come here not to violate any law but to meet the victims,”she said and also posted a video showing the officials leaving Chunar Fort in Mirzapur at 1.15 AM.
ADG Varanasi, Commissnor Varanasi division and other senior Police & Govt officials leaving Chunar Qila at 1.15 am pic.twitter.com/ceyk4Rg2k0
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 19, 2019
In another tweet, she said that her advocates have told her that her detention is totally illegal. “They (officials) are sitting with me for around one hour. They did not tell me the ground of detention nor showed any papers,” she said.
UP govt ‘dictatorially inclined’, says Rahul Gandhi
Reacting to the developments, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Saturday accused the UP government of being “dictatorially inclined” and said Priyanka Gandhi’s “imprisonment” at Chunar guesthouse was an attempt to trample upon democracy.
“The imprisonment of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, on way to meet the families of Sonbhadra massacre victims, in Chunar guest house through the night without water and electricity by a dictatorially inclined UP government is an attempt to trample upon democracy,” Rahul Gandhi said in a Facebook post in Hindi. Congress will not get scared of such tactics and stop fighting for Dalits and tribals, he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Deepender Singh Hooda, Mukul Wasnik, Raj Babbar, Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh, Jitin Prasada and Rajeev Shukla have been stopped at Varanasi airport by police. They were on their way to Sonbhadra to meet the victims’ family. Commenting on the issue, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari, who met Governor Ram Naik with a party delegation today, told ANI, “This govt doesn’t want that someone should wipe off victims’ tears. Whatever has happened is unconstitutional and undemocratic and it seems as if Uttar Pradesh govt has implemented undeclared emergency to hid its sins and shortcomings.”