The Central Reserve Police Force on Monday said Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s security was not breached during her recent trip to Lucknow, and accused her of violating rules and undertaking “unscheduled movement without intimation”, PTI reported. The paramilitary force provides Z-plus category of security cover to the Congress general secretary.
On Saturday, Gandhi had accused the police in Lucknow of manhandling her while she was on her way to visit former Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri, who has been arrested during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act on December 19. Gandhi went to Darapuri’s family on a party’s worker’s two-wheeler despite police attempts to stop her.
The CRPF said an advanced security liaison could not be conducted because of the Congress leader’s sudden change of plans. “During travelling the protectee used non-bullet resistant civil vehicle without a personal security officer,” said the force. “The protectee took a lift in scooty as a pillion rider. Such security lapses are communicated to the protectee and advised for ensuring proper security arrangements.”
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Police backed Circle Officer Archana Singh, who was in charge of the police force during Gandhi’s Lucknow visit. Singh has been accused of shoving the Congress leader.
“Priyanka Gandhi was moving in a different direction and the female officer only enquired about her travel plans,” said Lucknow Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani, according to India Today. “The allegations of manhandling the Congress leader are untrue.”
Singh has also defended herself. “She [Vadra] was scheduled to travel from the state Congress headquarters to Sheila Kaul’s residence at 4.30 pm on Saturday,” she said. “A part of Priyanka Gandhi’s fleet took a turn towards Kaul’s residence while the Congress leader moved straight. I was heckled when I tried to enquire where she wanted to go so that the required security arrangements could be made.”
The state police have been accused of excesses ever since the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act gained momentum. Over 1,100 people have been arrested in the state, and 5,558 kept in preventive detention. At least 19 people have been killed during demonstrations, with 15 dying of firearm injuries. The nationwide toll is 26.
The new citizenship 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.