Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, who were stopped at Yamuna Expressway while heading to Hathras to meet the family of the gang-rape victim, have been arrested on Thursday for what the police described as a violation of the epidemic act.
“We have stopped them here. The Epidemic Act is being violated. We will not allow them to proceed forward,” Noida ADCP Ranvijay Singh told ANI. Though quoting sources, PTI revealed that Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi were taken to a guest house and released after a while.
Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, the Uttar Pradesh administration on Thursday morning announced a ban on gatherings of a large number of persons and put up barricades at the borders of Hathras, according to NDTV.
Following the report, Uttar Pradesh officers claimed the restrictions had been in place since 1 September and have been extended till 31 October.
The media has also been restricted from going to Hathras. Prakash Kumar, Deputy SP, said that the media was interfering with the probe of the SIT (Special Investigation Team) plus the security personnel deployed at Hathras showed symptoms for the COVID-19.
“We have asked these cops to get themselves tested and if they test positive, the village might be declared a quarantine zone and thus entry of outsiders, including media, has been stopped on apprehension of Covid-19,” Praveen Kumar, district magistrate, Hathras told Hindustan Times.
Currently, section 144 is active in Hathras after it was imposed earlier in the day and it will remain active till 31 October.
Rahul Gandhi, who has been arrested under “section 188” said he was pushed and lathicharged by the police. “Why are you arresting me? What are the grounds for the arrest? Please tell the media,” he required.
#WATCH Just now police pushed me, lathicharged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi Ji walk in this country? Can’t a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Yamuna Expressway,on his way to #Hathras pic.twitter.com/nhu2iJ78y8
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 1, 2020
In a few minute video that was shared by Congress, Rahul Gandhi could be heard telling the police that he wants to go to Hathras alone and he does not intend on having a public assembly. Priyanka Gandhi told reporters while walking on the Yamuna Expressway that her party will continue to fight till women’s safety is ensured in Uttar Pradesh.
Protests have intensified, with the Opposition calling for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation after the allegedly forced cremation of the body of the woman on Wednesday.
The woman’s family told newsmen that Uttar Pradesh Police forcibly cremated her without their permission in the early hours of the morning on 30 September. Although the police have denied having done the cremation forcefully.
However, the NCW on Thursday also requested an explanation from the Uttar Pradesh Police on why they cremated the woman’s body so quickly.