Stopped from visiting Agra, Priyanka asks ‘what is UP govt afraid of?’

The Congress leader was on Wednesday stopped on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway while on her way to meet the family of a man who died in police custody.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
The state had earlier this month detained Priyanka while she was on her way to visit the families of farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was on Wednesday stopped at the first toll plaza on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway while on her way to Agra to meet the family of a man who died in police custody.

The Congress cried foul, saying the Yogi Adityanath government in the state was preventing her from talking to the family of Arun Valmiki, who had been accused of stealing Rs 25 lakh, while the UP Police said Priyanka was stopped as she did not have the permission needed to visit the city.

A day ago, Priyanka, who is leading her party’s campaign for the upcoming UP Assembly polls, had announced that the Congress will reserve 40 per cent of its tickets for women in the elections. She is also expected to make more such announcements and promises to the people ahead of the crucial polls – a fact that has caused much discomfiture to Congress’ political rivals in UP.

According to the UP Police, Valmiki died after his health deteriorated during interrogation, while NDTV reported Agra SSP Muniraj G as saying that the man “fell sick on Tuesday night while a raid was being carried out at his house. He was then taken to a hospital but doctors declared him dead”.

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An incensed Priyanka tweeted in Hindi on Wednesday: “Arun Valmiki died in police custody. His family is seeking justice. I want to visit that family. What is the UP government afraid of? Why am I being stopped? Today is Lord Valmiki Jayanti… PM Modi spoke big on Buddha but this is attacking his message.”

The state had earlier this month detained Priyanka while she was on her way to visit the families of farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on October 3.

Visuals from the media showed Priyanka surrounded by a crowd, including policemen, as she tried to make her way past the blockade. According to NDTV, one policeman stood in front of her vehicle, with both hands placed on the hood, while other officers in front of her car apparently persuaded her to return. A video of a conversation between the Congress leader and the police has Priyanka asking: “Wherever I go… I have to ask for permission?”, while the policeman replies that it is a “law and order issue”.

“What is the issue? Someone has died… what is the law and order issue, tell me?” she further asks.

Also read: Priyanka throws down the gauntlet: 40% tickets for women in UP elections

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