The Noida Police on Sunday apologised to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi, a day after was she mishandled by its personnel while she was on her way to Hathras, PTI reported. The police said it had ordered an inquiry into a policeman yanking the Congress leader by her kurta amid a scuffle that broke out between party workers and the police on the Delhi Noida Direct Flyway.

Priyanka Gandhi, along with other her brother Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders, was on her way to Hathras on Saturday afternoon to meet the family of a Dalit woman who died of her injuries after she was gangraped by four upper-caste men from the Thakur community. This was their second attempt to meet the family.

The Gandhi’s convoy ran into heavy police deployment, which had been bolstered ahead of their visit. As their vehicle drove alongside a crowd of Congress workers and moved towards the DND exit, some party workers got involved in clashes with policemen stationed at the toll gates.

When the police began to baton charge some Congress workers, Priyanka Gandhi got off the vehicle and attempted to shield them. In the midst of this, a helmet-wearing policeman held the Congress general secretary by her kurta as he tried to get her to move.

“Noida Police profoundly regrets the incident with Priyanka Gandhi while handling an unruly crowd at the DND,” the district police said in a statement. “We also apologise to Priyanka Gandhi.” The police added that punitive action would be taken after an inquiry into the case, which would be conducted by a senior lady officer.

“The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and ordered an inquiry to be conducted by a senior lady officer. We, at Noida Police, are committed to ensuring the safety and dignity of women.”  

— Gautam Buddh Nagar police

The Gandhis were eventually able to visit the woman’s family on Saturday, after a failed attempt on Thursday, when both leaders headed towards Hathras were stopped by the police. They were arrested under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly violating a public order prohibiting the assembly of four or more people, and then escorted back Delhi.

A day later the police also stopped a Trinamool Congress delegation. In both instances, photo and video evidence showed the police using force liberally against the politicians.

After meeting the family on Saturday, the Gandhis said they would continue their fight for justice, adding that no power could stifle the family’s voice. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad also met the family on Sunday and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored inquiry into the case.

Follow today’s live updates of the Hathras gangrape case here

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Four upper-caste Thakur men had tortured and raped the Dalit woman. She died on September 29 at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. She had suffered multiple fractures and other serious injuries when the four accused raped her in her village on September 14. The four men have been arrested.

But the sequence of events – with the woman’s body being hastily cremated, and the administration’s denial that this was a caste-based crime – has evoked shock and outrage across the country.