Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, who were stopped at Yamuna Expressway while on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the gang rape victim, were arrested on Thursday for what the police said was a violation of the epidemic act.
“We have stopped them here. The Epidemic Act is being violated. We will not allow them to proceed forward,” Noida ADCP Ranvijay Singh told ANI.
Quoting sources, PTI said Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi were taken to a guest house and released after sometime.
Uttar Pradesh officers, the report added, claimed the restrictions had been in place since 1 September and have been extended till 31 October.
The media has also been barred from going to Hathras. Prakash Kumar, Deputy SP, said that the media was interfering with the probe of the SIT (Special Investigation Team) and the security personnel deployed at Hathras showed symptoms of Covid-19.
“We have asked these cops to get themselves tested and if they test positive, the village might be declared a quarantine zone and thus entry of outsiders, including media, has been stopped on apprehension of Covid-19,” Praveen Kumar, district magistrate, Hathras told Hindustan Times.
Section 144 was imposed in Hathras earlier in the day and it will be in force till 31 October.
Rahul Gandhi, who has been arrested under “section 188” said that he was pushed and lathicharged by the police. “Why are you arresting me? What are the grounds for the arrest? Please tell the media,” he said.
In a video shared by Congress, Rahul Gandhi can be heard telling the police that he wants to go to Hathras alone and he does not intend on having a public assembly.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters while walking on the Yamuna Expressway, Priyanka Gandhi said her party will continue to fight till women’s safety is ensured in Uttar Pradesh.
Protests have intensified, with the Opposition seeking Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation after the allegedly forced cremation of the body of the woman on Wednesday.
The woman’s family told HuffPost India’s Betwa Sharma that Uttar Pradesh Police forcibly cremated her without their permission in the early hours of the morning on 30 September.
The police has denied that the cremation was done forcefully.
The NCW on Thursday also sought an explanation from the Uttar Pradesh Police on the urgency to cremate the woman’s body.
(With PTI inputs)