Lakhimpur violence: Priyanka Gandhi arrested, Baghel stopped from leaving Lucknow airport

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: After being kept in custody at PAC guest house for more than a day, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and 10 other Congressmen were arrested officially by Sitapur police under various sections of CrPC on Tuesday.

According to police sources, the arrests of the Congress leaders were made to “prevent the commission of cognizable offences”.

Notably, Priyanka was stopped and taken into preventive custody on early Monday morning at Sitapur while she was on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri where violence broke out between the farmers and the BJP workers had claimed 8 lives, including four farmers, on Sunday.

Besides Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, those arrested included Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda, UP Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu and party MLC Deepak Singh, Sandeep, Rajkumar, Narendra Shekhawat, Yogendra, Harikant, Dhiraj Gurjar, and Amit. The arrests were made under Sections 107, 116 and 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences) of the CrPC.

As per the sources, now the Congress leaders could be released on personal bonds. For now, they are being kept at PAC guest house as a temporary jail.

According to Hargaon station house officer (SHO) Brijesh Kumar Tripathi, 11 persons were arrested. “On Monday around 4.30 am, Priyanka ji was stopped while on her way to Lakhimpur. We stopped her as the situation was not fine there and Section 144 of CrPC was in place,” said Tripathi, adding that the Congress general secretary did not listen to the cops and in proper security presence, she was taken to a local guest house. “Further course of action will be decided by the senior officials,” said Tripathi.

However, the sources claimed that Priyanka may not necessarily be presented in the court for release. There were certain CrPC sections under which the hearing could be done by the magistrate at any place if there is a need.

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Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who finally reached Lucknow airport on Tuesday to show solidarity with the four farmers killed in Sunday’s violence, was not allowed to leave the airport and sat on the floor in protest, questioning the rationale behind the denial of permission.

In a video tweeted by Baghel, he can be seen asking the police officials why he was being stopped from leaving the airport when he had no intention of visiting Lakhimpur Kheri.

Baghel had on Monday slammed the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government for not allowing him to land at the Lucknow airport, and asked whether civil rights have been abolished in the northern state.

“When Section 144 (of CrPC) is in force in Lakhimpur, then why landing at Lucknow is not being allowed,” he asked. “Have the civil rights been abolished in Uttar Prad esh? Is a separate visa is required for going to UP? Why are people being stopped? It is very unfortunate as it is a question of civil rights. Can’t people go to express their condolences and to take stock of the incident? If they (BJP government) are stopping, then what is their mindset?” he further asked.

The way farmers were mowed down (in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday), it shows their (UP BJP government’s) mentality that those who will raise voice against them will be crushed and trampled, he claimed. “This mentality is very dangerous and the whole country is agitated and everyone wants to go to Lakhimpur,” he said. “The incident has “exposed the real face of the BJP”.

Baghel said, “BJP was elected to power over the issue of law and order and now the entire country is watching how the law and order was violated there. There is nothing left in control of Yogi Adityanath, and his own people are doing such things.”