Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were detained earlier in the day on their way to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district, have been released, sources said, adding the Gandhi sibling are now heading back towards Delhi escorted by UP police.
The Gandhis were visiting Hathras to meet the family members of the Dalit gangrape victim who died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. However, they were stopped on their way and then taken away in a jeep. The Congress had said that the Gandhis were arrested by the police.
Sources said they were kept in a guest house for sometime after which they were released. They are now headed back towards Delhi escorted by UP police, they said. Rahul Gandhi fell down in the scuffle after police tried to stop him and his supporters from proceeding.
Police first stopped their convoy at Greater Noida, about 150 km from Hathras. The two Congress leaders then started walking towards Hathras with their supporters. During the brawl, the Gandhis alleged that the police lathicharged them and the party workers.
“Just now police pushed me, lathicharged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi ji walk in this country? Can’t a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking,” Rahul Gandhi had said.
दुख की घड़ी में अपनों को अकेला नहीं छोड़ा जाता।
UP में जंगलराज का ये आलम है कि शोक में डूबे एक परिवार से मिलना भी सरकार को डरा देता है।
इतना मत डरो, मुख्यमंत्री महोदय!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 1, 2020
“In times of sorrow, loved ones are not left alone. The situation of UP jungle raj is such that meeting a family in mourning also scares the government. Don’t be so afraid, chief minister!,” he further said in a tweet.
Anticipating the Congress leaders’ visit, the UP state administration banned large gatherings and put up barricades at the borders citing the coronavirus.
The Samajwadi Party also protested at the Hathras border. The media too has been barred from entering the village.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman died on Tuesday at a hospital in Delhi of multiple fractures, paralysis and severe spinal injury after she was allegedly raped by four men in her village on September 14. The UP police took away her body, drove to her village and cremated the body forcibly, with the family locked in their home.
The woman’s family alleged that the police had been slow to respond to their complaint. The incident has drawn public anger against the UP government.