Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi was detained and taken to Mirzapur by Uttar Pradesh police on Friday while she was on her way to meet the kin of those killed in the July 17 Sonbhadra firing incident, in which nine people were killed.
Priyanka, who had arrived in Varanasi earlier today, was detained after she along with Congress leaders has sat on a dharna in protest against the state government who she claimed was preventing her from meeting the families of the victims of the firing incident.
Police detained Priyanka citing violating of Section 144, which was imposed in the area. The section prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area.
She was taken to the Chunnar Guest House in Mirzapur, where she again sat on dharna.
“I will go to Sonbhadra and meet the victims. I will not move from here till I meet victims and deceased kins. I am ready to go anywhere they (police) take me from here,” said Priyanka who was accompanied by party workers and supporters.
“Section 144 was imposed in Sonbhadra and not in Mirzapur. I told them I will not violate any law. I want to go to Sonbhadra and I will move with three other people. But they did not listen and took me here,” she said while speaking to media persons.
She claimed that the media did not give due attention to the Sonbhadra incident, adding that it is a duty of media to show atrocities of the common man.
Priyanka demanded a flat of Rs 25 lakh for victims and ownership right of their land.
Soon after Priyanka Gandhi was detained by Uttar Pradesh Police on her way to Sonbhdra, Rahul Gandhi dubbed the action as “illegal arrest” which is “disturbing”.
The Gandhi scion said that Priyanka’s arrest displays the BJP government’s increasing insecurity in Uttar Pradesh.
“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 Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Congress party also hit out at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for not allowing Priyanka to visit relatives of the victims.
“Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ajay Singh Bisht-led government’s attempt to stop Priyanka from visiting Sonbhadra is an insult to democracy. This shows ‘dictatorship’ of his government as the move was taken without a written order and basic spirit of the Constitution,” Congress said on Twitter responding to her detention.
“Yes, we still won’t be cowed down. We were only going peacefully to meet victim families. I don’t know where are they taking me, we are ready to go anywhere,” she told ANI after being detained.
“Just want to go and meet families of victims (Sonbhadra firing case), I even assured that will take only four people with me. Yet the administration is not letting us go there. They should tell us why we are being stopped. We will continue to sit here peacefully,” Priyanka said while speaking to media persons here.
“Officers told me that they have received an order from higher authorities, I want them to show it to me,” she added.
She was escorted to Mirzapur amidst heavy police security.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said police have arrested 29 people and government has suspended four officials in connection with the Sonbhadra firing incident.
According to police, nine people were killed in the firing.
On the day of the incident, Priyanka had criticised the state government over the law and order situation.
Taking to Twitter, she had said, “In the BJP ruled state, the confidence of criminals is so high that broad day-light killings are continuously happening. The killing of 9 Gond tribesmen, including 3 women, by the land mafia in Umbha village of Sonbhadra is heart-wrenching. Administration and Chief Minister are all sleeping. Is this how the state will be crime-free?”
The incident took place in Ubbha village of Ghorawal where the village head went to take possession of his land purchased two years ago. However, he met with opposition from the villagers which triggered the firing allegedly by his aides leading to the deaths.