Businessman Robert Vadra on Sunday expressed concern at the Uttar Pradesh Police’s alleged misbehaviour with his wife and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, a day after state Deputy Chief Minister accused the Congress leader of doing “nautanki [drama]”.

Vadra said he was “extremely disturbed” after the Congress leader alleged that the police in Lucknow had manhandled her on Saturday while she was on her way to visit a former Indian Police Service officer arrested during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. “I am extremely disturbed at the way Priyanka was manhandled by the woman cops,” Vadra wrote in a Facebook post. “While one held her by the throat, the other woman cop pushed her and she fell down.”

However, the businessman added, that Gandhi was determined to visit the former police officer’s family, and hence proceeded on a two-wheeler. “I am proud of you Priyanka for being compassionate and for reaching out to people who need you,” Vadra said. “What you did was correct and there is no crime to be with people in need or in grief.”

Former police officer SR Darapuri was arrested during protests in the city on December 19. Gandhi visited Darapuri’s family despite police attempts to stop her, and later addressed the media.

“UP Police stopped me while I was going to meet family of Darapuri and said that I cannot go there,” Gandhi said. She claimed she was surrounded by policewomen when she started walking. After that the Congress leader got on to a party worker’s two-wheeler. When that vehicle was also stopped, Gandhi walked the rest of the way to Darapuri’s home.

Keshav Prasad Maurya claimed Gandhi does not care for the welfare of people in Lucknow. “Nautanki [drama] will not fetch votes for the Congress, and what’s remaining of the party will also be finished,” he tweeted late on Saturday night.

At least 19 people have been killed in the state during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act – 16 of them died of firearm injuries. The nationwide toll is 26. On Saturday, Chief Minister Adityanath justified the police crackdown, and claimed everyone had been silenced.

The new law, approved 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 for excluding Muslims.