Congress eyes dharna after cops detain Priyanka, halt her Sonbhadra visit

Priyanka Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh, Sonbhadra, firing, The Federal, English news website
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra being taken in an official vehicle after being detained. Photo: PTI

The Congress has directed all its state units to hold dharna in protest against the detention of party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Mirzapur on Friday (July 18) and for not allowing her to visit Sonbhadra, where section 144 has been imposed.

Priyanka was stopped in Mirzapur on her way to Sonbhadra, where a clash on Wednesday had claimed the life of 10 people, to meet the victims. On being stopped, she took to a sit-in demonstration, following which, the police detained her.

Section 144 has been imposed in Sonbhadra after a clash broke out when a village head and his supporters opened fire on a rival group on Wednesday. At least 10 people were killed and 18 injured in the ensuing violence.

Reacting to Priyanka’s arrest, the Congress has issued a statement, directing all its state units and departments to protest against “the atrocities perpetrated on the common man by the BJP government.”

“It has been decided that statewide dharna/demonstration may be organised in all states to register protest against the arrest of Smt Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and atrocities against the common man by the BJP government,” said the statement.

After being detained, Priyanka told reporters, “We still won’t be cowed down. We were only going peacefully to meet victim families (of Sonbhadra firing case). I don’t know where are they taking me, we are ready to go anywhere,” She was taken to Chunar guest house nearby after she sat on dharna.

Uttar Pradesh DGP OP Singh said that Priyanka was detained by the local police and that she was not allowed to go to Sonbhadra.

Terming Priyanka’s arrest as illegal, Rahul said it was arbitrary application of power to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land. He said it “reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP.”

Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev too slammed the Uttar Pradesh government over Priyanka’s arrest and said, “Wherever she (Priyanka) goes, they stop her. Yogi (Adityanath) also doesn’t visit (those places) to solve the issue.” She also accused the Chief Minister of consistently misusing the Section 144 of CrPC.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that 29 criminals have been arrested so far in connection with the incident, and a single barrel gun, three double barrel guns and a rifle seized. “Whoever is found responsible for this incident, strictest action will be taken against them,” he further said.