By Arré Bench Oct. 01, 2020
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were on their way to meet the family of the Hathras gang-rape victim, were detained on Thursday. Images of Rahul being manhandled by the UP police have been widely shared and only made the public more angry.
The Hathras and Balrampur gang-rapes have shocked India. As more details emerge over the investigations carried out by the Uttar Pradesh administration, a number of protests were held in cities across the country to highlight the horrific plight of women in India. Among those protestors were opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who along with a convoy, had made their way towards Hathras on Thursday to meet the family of the Dalit woman, who lost her life earlier this week.
However, this act didn’t go down too well for the Uttar Pradesh administration, as the Gandhi scions were stopped by the police in Greater Noida. The two Congress leaders were detained, while Rahul Gandhi says he was aggressively shoved to the ground by an official, and even lathi-charged by police personnel.
Hathras Rape Case: Rahul Gandhi Pushed By Cops During Protest On Way To Hathras, Falls To Ground https://t.co/H1GdJ0RPyy
— ParanjoyGuhaThakurta (@paranjoygt) October 1, 2020
‘Lathicharged by cops’, says Rahul Gandhi as he marches to #Hathras to meet the family of the 19-year-old gang-rape victim
Follow LIVE Updates here: https://t.co/EI41vzht3b
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) October 1, 2020
In a video circulating on social media, Gandhi is heard asking the police on what grounds he was being arrested. An officer replies that he was being charged under Section 188, a law on defying official orders. The police also argued that large gatherings were banned in the area, citing the coronavirus pandemic, but many, including the Congress party, have claimed it was actually a move to stifle dissent.
— Brijesh Kalappa (@brijeshkalappa) October 1, 2020
When the #Hathras victim's family demanded that her rapists be arrested, @Uppolice didn't act for 8 days. But when #RahulGandhi & #PriyankaGandhi tried to meet her family, they were arrested immediately. The @myogiadityanath govt is protecting the killers of India's daughter!
— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) October 1, 2020
The two Gandhis were later released and escorted back to Delhi, but the video showing Gandhi scuffling with the policeman has outraged the public, who couldn’t believe that an opposition leader was being denied the right to protest such a horrific crime.
This is not about @RahulGandhi
This is about the immense power and impunity of the Hindu Rashtra.
Using violence against dissent and protest is what the state always does.
If they can attack Rahul Gandhi, in front of cameras, we are all sitting ducks. pic.twitter.com/DlXCj8iWJ7
— Suchitra Vijayan (@suchitrav) October 1, 2020
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 1, 2020
How can the UP police stop leaders from visiting families of victims. And is this the way to treat anyone. And specially leaders of the opposition. Is there rule of law in UP? @RahulGandhi#RahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/WnuJlvwYOE
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) October 1, 2020
While rapes have unfortunately always been a common crime in the country, what makes this case even more shameful is that the woman’s family has alleged that their complaint initially wasn’t taken seriously because they were Dalit. The police later cremated the victim’s body and her family was kept away. Now a senior police official has denied the rape.
The grave injustice has drawn immense public anger, with protestors across the country calling for the resignation of UP CM Yogi Adityanath. Many were also detained in Delhi during a demonstration, only compounding the anger.
Delhi cops detained 80 people from Opposition-affiliated student, youth and women’s groups on Wednesday when they tried to protest outside Uttar Pradesh Bhavan against the Hathras rape and murder and the cremation by cops without the family’s participationhttps://t.co/sWS6DTjoWM
— The Telegraph (@ttindia) October 1, 2020
Now after two members of the country’s main opposition party were detained for exercising their rights, it seems as though the move may trigger a wave of protests
across the country. The Congress party has already called for its members to lead these demonstrations. We saw hundreds and thousands of people take to the streets to demand justice for Nirbhaya in 2012. Eight years later, sadly, the country finds itself at a similar juncture.