Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was stopped on Friday when she was on her way to meet the families affected by the Sonbhadra shootout, spent the night at a guest house in Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh where senior government officials met her late night. However, talks between Ms Gandhi and the government officials failed after the Congress leader told them she “won’t leave without meeting” the affected families.
In a series of late-night tweets, the 47-year-leader said Braj Bhushan, Varanasi Additional Director General of Police, along with other senior government officials, came to meet her at around 12 am at Chunar Fort, where she was taken after she was stopped earlier on Friday.
“UP Government sent Varanasi ADG Brish Bhushan, Varanasi Commissioner Deepak Agrawal , DIG Mirzapur to tell me that I should leave without meeting the affected families. They are sitting here since the last one hour. They have not explained why they have taken me in custody, they have also not handed me any papers,” Ms Gandhi, who is the Congress in-charge of eastern UP, wrote in one of the tweets in Hindi.
“According to my lawyers, my arrest is illegal in all ways. They have passed on the government’s message to me that I can’t meet the affected families,” Ms Gandhi wrote.
“I told them clearly that I did not come here to break any laws but came only to meet the affected families. I have told them I won’t go without meeting the affected families,” she said in another tweet.
Ms Gandhi also tweeted a video of the senior police officers and top government officials leaving the fort at around 1:15 am after meeting her.
ADG Varanasi, Commissnor Varanasi division and other senior Police & Govt officials leaving Chunar Qila at 1.15 am pic.twitter.com/ceyk4Rg2k0
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 19, 2019
Visuals showed Ms Gandhi sitting with party workers in the dark after a power outage at the Mirzapur guest house. The Congress party workers, who were with her at the Chunar Fort, alleged that the district administration was doing this to force her to leave the place, news agency ANI reported.
Congress workers were also heard shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath”All the accused in Sonbhadra are in police custody and officials involved in the incident have been suspended,” he added.
Earlier this week, 10 people were killed and over 24 injured in a village in Sonbhadra when a village chief, Yagya Dutt, and his associates, fired on a group of tribal farmers who had refused to give up 36 acres of land they had tilled for generations. Witnesses said Yagya Dutt on Wednesday had brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to seize the land. The men fired at the tribals for over half-an-hour in one of the most chilling incidents the country has seen in recent times.
On Friday, Ms Gandhi landed at Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where she went to a hospital to see those wounded in the Sonbhadra massacre.
Later, she was stopped when she was on her way to a village in Sonbhadra, about 80 km away, after reports emerged that gatherings had been banned at the district.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday hit out at the Congress. “The Congress governments in the past have provided protection to land mafias and the Sonbhadra incident is an example of that,” he said.
UP Minister and BJP leader Shrikant Sharma has accused the Congress of politicising the Sonbhadra issue. “Congress is upset, which is fair after their poll defeat. Priyanka Gandhi should have taken permission. We would like to request the Congress to not politicize the deaths in Sonbhadra. If Priyanka Gandhi is so concerned, why didn’t she raise voice against the rape case in Rajasthan,” he told news agency ANI.
Priyanka Gandhi’s decision to visit Sonbhadra was seen to indicate that she planned to keep an intense focus on UP in the run-up to state polls in 2022. This is the 47-year-old leader’s second visit to UP since the national election, in which the Congress could manage just one of 80 seats despite a high-profile campaign by the Gandhi siblings.
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"I Won’t Leave…" Says Priyanka Gandhi, Spends Night In UP’s Mirzapur – NDTV News