Rahul Gandhi heads for Saharanpur despite no permission

Elias Hubbard
May 29, 2017

On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi reached Saharanpur around 3:30 PM along with Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar before walking for about half a kilometre to meet the violence affected.

According to locals, the Dalits were returning after attending a rally of their leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawati.

The home secretary's visit comes against the backdrop of criticism that the Yogi Adityanath government, which came to power on the plank of improving the law and order situation in the state in March, hadn't been able to deliver on this promise. She stopped at various places en route, invited the media (also a departure from her traditional style of keeping the press at bay) and mingled with the victims and their families.

Rahul Gandhi today took a U-turn from his trip to the violence-hit Saharanpur.

He said, "They (community members involved in the aggression) are confident that law will not be initiated against them, because they think the chief minister will provide them all necessary protection".

Meanwhile, the police have appealed the political parties not to visit the village until the situation is normalised. "Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party will continue to speak", Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

The chief minister inaugurated a three-day exhibition highlighting achievements of the BJP-led NDA government at the centre on the completion of its three years in office. "This kind of mindset is deplorable". The violence erupted when upper caste Hindus objected to Dalits installing a statue of their leader Bhim Rao Ambedkar in a temple complex in Saharanpur.

Internet and mobile messaging services were also suspended in the district to prevent the spread of rumours which the administration feared could spark trouble.

Uttar Pradesh police in a report submitted to Ministry of Home Affairs claimed that the situation is under control in the state even though it has requested for 400 anti-riot police personnel.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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