She was taken to the Chunar guesthouse nearby after she sat on dharna, saying that she only wanted to meet the affected families.
New Delhi: AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was on Friday detained on her way to Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh, where 10 people were gunned down this week. Her move to hit the streets galvanised her party, which announced that it would hold demonstrations across the country in protest.
Ms Vadra was stopped on her way to Sonbhadra and taken to a guesthouse, after she squatted on the road with her supporters insisting that she be allowed to proceed.
She was taken to the Chunar guesthouse nearby after she sat on dharna, saying that she only wanted to meet the affected families. “A boy of my son’s age was shot at and is lying in hospital. Tell me, on what legal basis have I been stopped here?” she asked.
“I can move ahead only with four people. I want to meet the victims... I only want to meet the affected families, whose members have been mercilessly shot dead.”
Congress leader Ajai Rai, who had fought against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, and was accompanying her, said she was stopped on the Varanasi-Mirzapur border on the way to Sonbhadra, and was taken into police custody along with other Congress leaders and workers.
In New Delhi, one of the first to react was Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who said: “The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This 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, reveals the BJP government’s increasing insecurity in UP.”
AICC general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said Congress workers will stage demonstrations across the country to protest against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s detention in Uttar Pradesh.
“The Yogi government is trying to hide its failures. This (detention of Priyanka Gandhi) betrays the arrogance of the government. Instead of showing compassion for the bereaved families, the Yogi government is targeting the Opposition leaders,” he said.
Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala too hit out at the UP government, saying: “By arresting Priyanka Gandhi, keeping her in Chunar, will the UP government be able to cover up the killing of 10 people of a tribal family in Sonbhadra?”
As the issue snowballed, chief minister Yogi Adityanath promised justice and said the subdivisional magistrate and four other officials were suspended. Eighteen people were injured in the clash that took place between supporters of a village head and Gond tribals over a piece of land in Sonbhadra’s Ghorawal area Wednesday.
Village head Yagya Dutt’s supporters had allegedly opened fire on the tribals and till now, 29 people, including him, have been arrested. Some of the injured were admitted to the BHU Trauma Centre in Varanasi, while some others are undergoing treatment at a health facility in Sonbhadra.