Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said her objective had been achieved after she met two relatives of victims of the Sonbhadra firing on Saturday, ANI reported. “I am still under detention, let’s see what the administration says,” she added. Gandhi also announced that the Congress party will give compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the persons who died in the incident.
Gandhi had been sitting on a dharna in a guesthouse after the Uttar Pradesh Police detained her on her way to a village in Sonbhadra district on Friday, where 10 people were killed in a shootout on Wednesday. Gandhi spent the night in the guesthouse and refused to leave till she was allowed to meet the kin of the victims.
However, Congress leader Ajay Rai said on Saturday afternoon that Gandhi was now leaving the Chunar guesthouse to visit Varanasi, PTI reported.
The Congress, meanwhile, claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government wanted to “deport” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. “After illegally detaining Priyankaji for 48 hours, BJP Govt does a U turn,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted. “Despite converting #Sonbhadra into a police camp, victims walk 70 Kms to meet Priyankaji & narrate the horrific massacre. She assures to fight for justice!”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged in a Facebook post that the Adityanath administration was “dictatorially inclined”. He added that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s “imprisonment” at the Chunar guesthouse was an attempt to destroy democracy. The Congress will not get scared of such tactics and stop fighting for Dalits and adivasis, he said.
Congress workers staged a sit-in protest in Jaipur against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s detention, PTI reported. Rajasthan Cabinet ministers BD Kalla, Raghu Sharma, Pratap Singh Khachariawas and other leaders of the party participated in the dharna. Congress workers in Kota also held a protest march.
But Sonbhadra District Magistrate Ankit Aggarwal told ANI that Section 144 has been imposed in the district as the situation was very sensitive. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibits the Assembly of four or more persons. “This prevents the entry of political parties as well as social organisations,” Aggarwal said. “I would like to request everyone to cooperate to maintain peace in the area.”
“As soon as the situation becomes normal we will remove Section 144,” he added. “Twenty-nine arrests have been made in connection with the incident. Forces have been deployed to maintain peace in the village.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati attacked the Uttar Pradesh government for imposing Section 144 in the district. “The UP government is banking on section 144 to hide its shortcomings pertaining to protection of life and property, and is not allowing anyone to visit Sonbhadra,” she tweeted. “Even then, the BSP legislature party has been directed to visit the place and extend every possible help to the affected people. Government’s laxity was the main reason for this massacre.”
A Trinamool Congress delegation led by Derek O’Brien also attempted to visit Sonbhadra in the morning. However, after being stopped, the delegation began a dharna at Varanasi airport.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said politicians should not visit Sonbhadra to fulfill their political intentions, ANI reported. “No one should do politics on sensitive issues. Our govt is committed to maintain peace,” he added.