Rahul Gandhi this morning quoted Mahatma Gandhi in a tweet as he said he “won’t bow down to any sort of injustice”, a day after he was briefly detained while marching to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras. Mr Gandhi, along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, was leading a march yesterday to the village where a 20-year-old woman was gang raped and tortured; she died on Tuesday morning at a hospital in Delhi, triggering widespread outrage across the country.
“I won’t be afraid of anyone in the world. I won’t bow down to any sort of injustice. I will defeat lies with the power of truth, and will face all the struggles while fighting untruth… Heartiest greetings on Gandhi Jayanti,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi this morning, invoking Mahatma Gandhi on his 151st birth anniversary.
Dramatic visuals on Thursday showed a face-off between Mr Gandhi, 50, and the UP Police. He was pushed and he fell to the ground during the tussle. Both Mr Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were briefly detained for violating ban on large gathering amid pandemic.
“Why are you arresting me? What are the grounds for the arrest? What law am I violating,” Rahul Gandhi said yesterday afternoon during the heated exchange with policemen, who said that they were charging him with “Section 188” – a law on defying official orders.
A police case was later lodged on Thursday against Mr Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra under the Epidemic Act. The First Information Report names 150 Congress workers, who had apparently accompanied the two leaders.
The incident was condemned by several political leaders. “Reckless behavior of UP police towards Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is extremely condemnable. It is reprehensible for those who are supposed to uphold the law to trample upon democratic values in such a manner,” tweeted NCP leader Sharad Pawar.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav wrote: “It is the duty and democratic right of the Opposition parties to protest against every indiscriminate misuse of power by the oppressive regime! Voice and will of the people cannot be silenced or suppressed! We unequivocally condemn the arrest of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi (sic).”
The UP government, however, dismissed the protest as a “political stunt”.
The 20-year-old who died on Tuesday had suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and severe spinal injury when she was assaulted by four men of the so-called upper castes from her village on September 14. The police said there was a gash in her tongue because she had bitten it when the men were trying to strangle her.
The family alleged they were not allowed to be a part of the 2:30 am cremation by UP cops, despite repeated appeals. The rape incident has yet again stirred protests in several parts of the country as questions are raised about the safety of women.