Over 24 hours after keeping her at a local guest house, the Sitapur police on Tuesday officially arrested Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and at least 10 others, to “prevent the commission of cognizable offences”.
Priyanka had been stopped on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people died after a car owned by Union MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni allegedly ran over protesting farmers, triggering a clash.
Other than Priyanka Gandhi, those arrested include Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda, UP Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu and party MLC Deepak Singh. The arrest has been made under section 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences) of the CrPC.
“Total 11 persons have been arrested by us. On Monday around 4.30 am, Priyanka ji was stopped while on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri. We told her that you should not go there as the situation is not fine and section 144 CrPC is in effect. She did not listen to us and in proper security presence, we had to take her to a local guest house,” said Hargaon station house officer (SHO) Brijesh Kumar Tripathi, adding that further course of action will be decided by senior officials.
Earlier in the day, Priyanka issued a video statement addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a Lucknow visit, and asked if he had seen a video purportedly of the Lakhimpur incident. She then played the video, which shows what appears to be a Mahindra Thar coming from behind and running over a group of protestors walking on a road.
“This video shows the son of your minister mowing down farmers under his vehicle. Watch this video and tell the country why this minister hasn’t been suspended and why the boy hasn’t been arrested yet. You have kept opposition leaders like me in arrest without any order of FIR, and I want to know why why this person is free,” she asked.
“Today when you will be sitting at the stage of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Utsav’, please remember that the farmers gave us freedom. Even today our borders are secured by sons of farmers. The farmers are in despair for months and are raising their voice, but you are denying it. I request you to come to Lakhimpur and understand their pain. Providing them security is your dharma, and dharma of the constitution you took oath on,” she added.
Earlier, Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda put out a tweet, saying they are under arrest for the past 36 hours while those running over farmers are roaming free. “Those mowing down farmers are free and we are in police custody for 36 hours. There is mourning in farmer families but utsav (festival) is being celebrated in Lucknow. I want to ask the people if this country if they will support those who run over or fight for those ran over,” he tweeted.