After an excruciating ordeal that involved Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi claiming that she was ‘manhandled’ by the UP Police on Saturday, the Congress party demanded the dismissal of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in the state.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said, ”We condemn the physical violence on protesters and manhandling of Priyanka Gandhi Ji. This government should be dismissed and there should be President’s Rule in the state.” The party also later approached the National Human Rights Commission over the incident.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday rode a scooter, walked on foot to meet the family of former IPS officer SR Darapuri, who was arrested following anti-CAA protest, after she was stopped by the cops from going to his home in Lucknow. The Congress leader alleged that she was manhandled by police as they tried to stop her from going to Mr Darapuri’s house. 

“UP police stopped me while I was going to meet the family of Darapuri Ji. Police strangulated and manhandled me. They surrounded me while I was going on a party worker’s two-wheeler, after which I walked to reach there,” Priyanka alleged.

The UP Police has, however, categorically rejected the allegations of manhandling Priyanka Gandhi and accused her security officials of not cooperating with them.

Addressing a press conference, Lucknow SSP Kalanidhi Naithini said, ”Today, morning area in-charge, Additional Superintendent of Police (Protocol) Dr Archana Singh, Circle Officer Modern Control Room, has presented a report to Additional Superintendent where she has mentioned that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s car was not moving in the scheduled route rather a different route.” He added, ”Singh has also written that whatever rumours are doing rounds on social media of heckling and strangulating Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are wrong.”

The UP government, too, in an official statement, said, “Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is trying to make the woman police official a scapegoat for her politics. The woman police official discharged her duty today despite the death of one of her family members. She is deeply hurt by these false allegations.”

Meanwhile, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury commented on the incident and claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government is “afraid” of Priyanka Gandhi and therefore does not want her to visit the state and people.

Priyanka was in Uttar Pradesh capital to address party leaders during a programme held to mark the 135th Foundation Day of the Congress.

After meeting party workers, the Congress general secretary headed for the Indiranagar residence of Darapuri but her fleet was stopped by the police.

“At the Lohia crossing, her vehicle was stopped, she protested and asked as to why was she being stopped,” Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh was quoted as saying by PTI. 

“The policemen also started following her. After walking for almost a kilometre, she again got into her vehicle. After this, when the police tried to stop her in the Munshipulia area, she again started walking and then suddenly turned towards a bylane in Indiranagar’s Sector 18. She walked for almost three-four kilometres and gave a slip to the police as well as the party workers,” he added.

After visiting Darapuri’s home, Priyanka said, “I was going in a peaceful manner, how was the law-and-order scenario going to deteriorate? They do not have the right to stop me. If they want to arrest me, they should do so.”

Earlier, speaking to party workers, she said the country was in trouble and voices of dissent were emanating from different corners.

“But, the government wants to suppress it using fear. Whenever such situations arise, Congress rises to the challenge and accepts them. There is no place for violence and fear in our heart,” she said.

“The BJP makes laws which are against the Constitution and then suppresses those who oppose it. People were killed in the country, including Uttar Pradesh, and those who could not be killed were put in jails. Their only fault was that they were raising voice against wrongdoing,” she added. 

Massive protests have erupted across the country against the new citizenship law and a proposed NRC with Uttar Pradesh being most affected where 19 people have been killed. The new law promises citizenship to “illegal immigrants” belonging to minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who fled religious persecution in the three countries. 

While critics say that the law is against the secular nature of the Indian Constitution and clubbed with the NRC may be misused to strip away some Muslims’ citizenship in the country. 

The BJP, however, has argued that the law has nothing to do with India’s Muslims and only helps those who fled religious persecution in the neighbouring countries.

Courtesy : DNA

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