India's Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi detained

Published: July 19, 2019 17:21:10 | Updated: July 19, 2019 20:29:20

-Reuters file photo

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the general secretary of India's Congress party, was detained on Friday near Varanasi by the Uttar Pradesh police.

Local police prevented her from travelling to Sonbhadra district, where 10 persons were gunned down by a village head and his men over a land dispute on Wednesday, reports The Hindu. 

The administration has imposed restrictive orders for assembly, under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, in Sonbhadra.

While being taken away in a police jeep, media persons asked Priyanka if she was arrested, to which she replied, “Ji,” in the affirmative.

“No matter what they do, we won’t budge. We have only come here to meet the families peacefully,” she said.

She said she did not know where she was being taken. The Uttar Pradesh police are yet to clarify.

Minutes earlier, Ms. Vadra, along with State Congress leaders, even sat at a dharna in Narayanpur on Mirzapur road, saying she was not being allowed to visit the families of the victims in Sonbhadra.

“We have been stopped. I am asking them to show me the order or law under which it is being done. I am telling them I will go only with four people (permissible assembly under Section 144). I only want to meet the victims’ families,” she said.

Ms. Vadra earlier visited the injured people at the trauma centre in BHU in Varanasi.

“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 government’s increasing insecurity in UP,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

Other senior Congress leaders also criticised the Uttar Pradesh government over the incident and described the action as “crushing of democracy“.

Nine people, including three women, were killed at a village in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh after a village head and his associates opened fired at villagers over a land dispute on Wednesday. The toll increased to 10 on Thursday.

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