Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday claimed that the Uttar Pradesh Police have not given a reason for her arrest or informed her about the charges invoked against her.
She also said that she has not been produced before a magistrate yet and has not been allowed to meet her legal counsel after her arrest.
The police have arrested Vadra and ten other persons in order to “prevent the commission of cognisable offences”, The Indian Express reported.
The police have also arrested Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda, the party’s state chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and MLC Deepak Singh.
Vadra on Tuesday said that she did not want to go into the details of the “completely illegal physical force used on my colleagues and me” during the arrest. However, she added that her confinement in a government building in Sitapur district constituted a “continuing illegality”.
The Congress leaders were in Lakhimpur Kheri district to meet the families of four farmers who died on Sunday after violence erupted during a protest against the Centre’s contentious farm laws.
The politicians have been arrested under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows the police to make arrests to prevent cognisable offences from being committed.
Earlier in the day, the police had filed a first information report against 11 people, including Vadra, Hooda and Lallu, ANI reported, citing the station house officer of Sitapur district.
Vadra had earlier said that she had been kept in detention in Uttar Pradesh for over 28 hours without an order or a first information report against her.
Hargaon Station House Officer Brijesh Kumar Tripathi said that around 4.30 am on Monday, the police stopped Vadra while she was on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri, according to The Indian Express.
“We told her that you should not go there as the situation is not fine and Section 144 CrPC is in effect,” he said. “She did not listen to us and in proper security presence, we had to take her to a local guest house.”
Tripathi said that senior officials will now decide the future course of action.
Meanwhile, the Congress said that a five-member delegation headed by party leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Lakhimpur Kheri on Wednesday. The party said that Gandhi will visit the district “to express condolences to the bereaved families and to know the facts first-hand”.
A letter by party general secretary KC Venugopal to Chief Minister Adityanath also questioned why Congress leaders had been detained while leaders from other parties were allowed to visit Lakhimpur Kheri.
A total of eight people were killed during the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri district on Sunday.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union has alleged that the farmers were run over by a vehicle that was part of a convoy of Union minister Ajay Mishra. The farmers’ body claimed that the vehicle belonged to the minister’s son Ashish Mishra.
Vadra was reportedly taken to a guest house in Sitapur district after being detained in Hargaon town.
Before her detention, Vadra was barred from leaving Lucknow and placed under a house arrest. However, the Congress leader started walking from Lucknow and later got into her car. Videos showed her confronting police officers for attempting to take her into custody without a warrant.
Speaking to NDTV on Monday, the Congress general secretary alleged that she was pushed and roughed up while being detained.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that Vadra’s detention was “illegal and utterly shameful”, ANI reported.
“She was arrested at 4.30 am, before sunrise, by a male police officer...She has not been taken to a judicial magistrate so far yet,” the former finance minister said. “Law and Order in UP seem to mean [Chief Minister] Adityanath’s law and Mr Adityanath’s order.”
Congress supporters staged protests against the detention outside the guest house in Sitapur and in other parts of the country.
Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said that state unit of the party will march towards Lakhimpur Kheri if Vadra is not released and Ashish Mishra is not arrested by Wednesday.
Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti demanded the release of Vadra.
“GOI [government of India] first gets a docile media to berate Congress and lament lack of a viable opposition but systematically ensures they don’t discharge their duties by illegal arrests,” she said in a tweet. “We are a democracy on paper but clearly the grim descent into a banana republic has begun. Release Priyanka Gandhi.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut called for “joint opposition action against oppression” by the Uttar Pradesh government. In a tweet, Raut said that he will meet Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday evening.
Nationalist Congress party chief Sharad Pawar said that the BJP will pay a heavy price for the violence at Lakhimpur Kheri, PTI reported. He asserted that the entire opposition stands with the farmers.
“Whether it is government at the Centre or in Uttar Pradesh, they are not sensitive at all,” he said. “The kind of situation that was created in Jallianwala Bagh, we are witnessing a similar situation in Uttar Pradesh.”
He demanded an investigation by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the violence.
Chhattisgarh CM stopped at airport
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel posted a photo of him sitting on floor at the Lucknow airport. In a tweet, Baghel said that he was being stopped from moving out of the airport without any order.
Baghel also posted a video where he tells police officials that he was not going to go to Lakhimpur Kheri.
“Section 144 [prohibitory orders] are in place in Lakhimpur, but I am not going there,” he added. “Then what’s the problem? Why am I being stopped?”
After one of the officials tell him that there was a ban on large gatherings in Lucknow too, Baghel sits on the floor.