Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tried to visit Saharanpur, which is in a state of unrest following communal tension but was stopped at the district’s border by the police this afternoon.
“I wanted to visit Saharanpur, I was stopped from going there… I am returning today on the request of the administration,” he said.
“In today’s India, there is no place for weaker sections of society. It is a duty of the government to protect every citizen. NDA government has spread fear among weaker sections all across the country,” Mr Gandhi added.
Mr Gandhi, on Friday, was accompanied by Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar, and were denied permission by the UP police from visiting Saharanpur.
Senior police officer Aditya Mishra had told the media on Friday that no politician is allowed to visit the town as of now. Not naming any politician, he said that the leaders have to wait for some days before they can make a visit to the place.
Calling it “political tourism”, BJP condemned the move. UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh said, “He wants photo opportunities. That is what he is known for. The administration will certainly not give him the permission.”
On Tuesday, a Dalit man was killed and several people were injured when a mob attacked supporters of Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati with swords and guns when she held a rally in Shabbirpur. Prior to that, 12 homes in the village belonging to Rajputs were set afire by unknown people and this mob attack was seen as retaliation. The Dalit group had attacked markets as their revenge.
The Yogi Adityanth government has blamed Mayawati’s visit and has termed the series of events as a “well-planned conspiracy.”
Earlier, the Union Home Ministry had rushed 400 riot-control policemen to ensure law and order Saharanpur. Mobile internet services and social networking sites were blocked in areas where there have been clashes so as to prevent the spread of rumours.