Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday alleged that the Uttar Pradesh Police manhandled her when she was on her way to meet the family of former Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri in Lucknow, ANI reported. Darapuri had earlier this month been arrested in connection with the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“UP police stopped me while I was going to meet family of Darapuri and said that I cannot go there,” Gandhi said. She added that when she began to travel on foot, she was surrounded by policewomen who manhandled her. Following this, Gandhi said she travelled on a party worker’s two-wheeler. When even that vehicle was stopped, the Congress general secretary walked the remainder of the distance to the residence of Darapuri’s family.
Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh told PTI that the police stopped Gandhi first at the Lohia crossing and then again in Munshipulia area. “She walked for almost three-four kilometres and gave a slip to the police as well as the party workers,” Singh said.
“What is the reason for stopping us, that too in the middle of the city?” Gandhi had earlier asked the policemen who stopped her vehicle. “This is not an issue of the Special Protection Guard, but of the Uttar Pradesh Police. There is no point stopping us.”
After meeting Darapuri’s family, Gandhi told reporters that she had been travelling in a peaceful manner. She dared the Lucknow Police to arrest her if they wanted to.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said: “If we want to meet someone and share his sorrows, why is it causing a stomach ache for the government? This government is feeling scared of Priyankaji. Hence, she was stopped.”
Over 1,100 people have been arrested in the state, and 5,558 kept under preventive detention. At least 18 people have been killed in clashes between the police and the protestors, with 15 dying of firearm injuries. Nationwide, the toll is at least 25.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised as being discriminatory for excluding Muslims.