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Cong hits out at Priyanka's 'arrest'; says criminals ruling the roost in UP

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 19, 2019  | 22:14 IST

(Eds: Incorporating stories, more quotes ) New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) The Congress Friday targeted the Uttar Pradesh government over the detention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi terming it as "illegal arrest", as the party alleged that criminals were ruling the roost under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's protection. Upping the ante against the BJP dispensation, the Congress alleged that human rights violations were taking place in the state and asked if the Yogi Adityanath government be allowed to stay in power on ethical grounds. It also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the issue. Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi was Friday stopped from proceeding towards Sonbhadra district to meet the families of those gunned down and injured in this week's violence. She was taken to a guesthouse after she squatted on the road, insisting that she be allowed to proceed. The Congress claimed that Gandhi was arrested, while the police maintained that she was only detained as a preventive measure. The party has planned countrywide protests against the turn of events, with party general secretary (organisation) writing to all state units and senior leaders to organise such protests in each district and state headquarter. One such protest was organised in Delhi too. Rahul Gandhi alleged that Priyanka Gandhi was "illegally arrested" and the use of "arbitrary application of power" reveals 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," he said in a tweet. Addressing a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Adityanath is turning into "Apradh Pradesh" (crime state) where goons rule the roost and commit crime under the nose of the chief minister. He alleged that the chief minister was providing protection to criminal elements. The Yogi Government is now infamous for all crimes that happen in Uttar Pradesh, be it murder, atrocities against women, robbery or thefts, Surjewala said. "Ten members of tribal families, including three women, were killed in broad daylight in Sonbhadra. The attack by 200 men wielding guns and other weapons shows how the attack has been carried out under Yogi government's nose and at his behest," the party chief spokesperson said. "Indian citizens want to know is it a crime to offer condolences to victims' kin, without violating section 144. "There is complete lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh. Should a government like that be allowed to stay in power even for a day on ethical grounds?" Surjewala said. The Congress leader alleged that with opposition leaders being arrested and human rights violated in the state for visiting families of victims of Yogi Adityanath government, there is unrest and pain among the people of the state. "...If you cannot enforce the rule of law, you should resign or quit," he said. Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, "Condemn the brazenly illegal detention of Priyanka Gandhi by the UP government. Clearly the state has lots to hide. This won’t deter us from fighting for the rights of Adivasis and other marginalised sections of society." Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, "It is absolutely wrong, the way UP government has stopped Priyanka ji from visiting victims of Sonbhadra firing. The government's move is unjust and undemocratic. Opposition leaders have every right to meet families of victims in any tragedy and stand in solidarity with them." "I condemn, in the strongest terms, the autocratic arrest of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi who was going to meet the families of those killed in Sonbhadra massacre. UP government led by Yogi Adityanath has completely failed on the law and order front," Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said on Twitter. In a letter to PCC chiefs and general secretaries, Venugopal also directed all state units and departments to protest against the "atrocities perpetrated on the common man by the BJP government". Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh West, Jyotiraditya Scindia said stopping Priyanka Gandhi from proceeding to Sonbhadra was "open disrespect" of democracy. "Meeting families of victims and expressing condolences is the responsibility of public representatives. The government has attempted to crush democracy which is highly condemnable," he said. Surjewala added that on July 18, 2019, Amethi MP and Union minister Smriti Irani, in a written reply, admitted in the Parliament that 6,977 of 10,531 rape attempts in the country take place in Uttar Pradesh alone. PTI SKC ASK SRY

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