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Rahul, Priyanka stopped by police from entering Meerut to meet kin of deceased protesters

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi being stopped by police personnel outside Meerut on December 24, 2019.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi being stopped by police personnel outside Meerut on December 24, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were prevented from meeting the families of those who died during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)-National Register of Citizens (NRC) protest in Meerut last week.

They were turned back from the national highway just outside Meerut on the grounds that Section 144 was imposed and no political activity would be allowed.

“We were stopped just outside Meerut and informed that Section 144 is in force and the situation is very tense. They informed us orally as well as gave it in writing. Rahul ji told them only three people will go. They told us that you come after two or three days and the administration would take us to the families of the victims,” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari, who was accompanying Mr. Gandhi, told reporters.

A video released by the Congress party showed Mr Gandhi asking the police personnel about the orders to prevent them.

“Kya aap ke paas koi order hain? [Do you have any order?]” asked Mr Gandhi in the video that shows him seated in his vehicle.

According to a Uttar Pradeh police statement, both Mr. Gandhi and Ms Vadra were served a notice, which said Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed and the situation in Meerut was sensitive. “They were told that they will be held responsible for any deterioration of the law and order situation in the district due to their visit,” the statement said.

It claimed that the police conveyed to the Congress leaders that it would not have any objection if they wanted to visit the district peacefully but both went back on their own.

Mr Tiwari said, “They stopped us at two places, Meerut and Modinagar. We have a copy of their written order as well that said the situation is very tense. Why did they obtain our signature on the notice if they didn’t want to stop us?”

Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled States, however, lashed out at the U.P. police for ‘preventing’ Mr Gandhi and Ms Vadra from proceeding further.

“Strongly condemn the UP govt's decision to stop @RahulGandhi & @priyankagandhi from travelling into Meerut to meet the families of the victims of the #CAAProtests. What India needs at this moment is a healing touch and not such curbs against opposition parties,” tweeted Punjab Chief Mimister Amarinder Singh.

Both Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his Chhattishgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel called the move of the U.P. government ‘undemocratic’.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 11:07:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rahul-priyanka-stopped-by-police-from-entering-meerut-to-meet-kin-of-deceased-protesters/article30387557.ece

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