Priyanka, Rahul Gandhi detained on march to Hathras
The Congress leaders were on their way to meet with the family of the Hathras gang-rape victim when they were detained.
The saga of the Hathras gang-rape victim and her family has blown into the political arena after the forcible cremation stirred outrage across the country. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister and party general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were stopped on their way to meet the family of the victim, who died in Delhi on Tuesday after battling for her life for more than 14 days. The leaders were detained for reportedly violating a ban on large gatherings.
Rahul Gandhi was also involved in a tussle with the police in which he was pushed to the ground. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra claimed she was shoved around and there were attempts to push her to the ground. The two leaders were travelling in a convoy to Hathras in UP when their vehicles were stopped, around 142 kms from their destination. They alighted and attempted to proceed on foot when they were confronted by the police.
Congress and other opposition leaders have condemned their arrests and said the UP government was stifling protests against the reprehensible way in which the matter was handled. There has been anger across the country regarding the rape of 19-year-old Dalit girl, who was severely wounded and left to languish in the Aligarh hospital for days, her limbs completely paralysed. The government had refused to shift her to AIIMS, citing lack of beds and she was only moved to Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi a day before her death.
There has been outcry regarding how the police handled the investigations and the aftermath of her death. The four men charged for attempted murder (and later murder, upon her death) were not charged with any kind of sexual offence till five days after the incident. The police insist there have been no signs of sexual assault according to reports from the Aligarh hospital. After her death, her body was not handed over to the family. Instead, the body and family were taken to their village by the police in the dead of the night. The police locked the family inside their homes and cremated the body themselves in the presence of an uncle and without any rituals. The family said they hadn’t even seen her face.
The Congress has demanded UP chief minister Yogi Adiyanath’s resignation over the incident. Rahul Gandhi said the atrocities on daughters continue under BJP’s “jungle raj” in UP. They are no respected when they alive and now their dignity has been taken away in death, he said. Meanwhile, union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the state government was working on punishing the criminals and asked the opposition to not indulge in “political tourism”.