New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) In a dramatic twist following massive police arrangements and traffic chaos, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, along with three other party leaders, were on Saturday allowed to meet the family of the 19-year-old Hathras girl who died four days ago after being allegedly gang-raped by ‘upper-caste men’.
The police has to resort to mild lathi charge to disperse the huge crowd assembled at the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) flyway here.
Succeeding in his second attempt to meet the victim’s family, Rahul made the announcement from the DND flyway where he, Congress General Secretary Priyanka, Congress MPs and supporters were stopped by the police from entering Uttar Pradesh in the afternoon, leading to massive traffic jams with people stuck on the 9.2-km stretch for more than one hour.
The police have closed all the lanes on the DND and only one service lane was functioning which led to a traffic jam.
“UP administration has allowed five Congress leaders to visit Hathras,” announced Rahul Gandhi after climbing on the top of his vehicle in which he was travelling with his sister.
Sources said that Congress leaders K.C. Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and P.L. Punia will be accompanying Rahul and Priyanka to Hathras.
Meanwhile, sources said that even Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge are also en route Hathras in other vehicles. However, after the announcement by Rahul Gandhi, elated Congress workers were not ready to leave the DND and wanted to accompany their leaders till Hathras.
Earlier on Saturday, the police resorted to mild lathi charge to disperse the crowd in which several Congress workers were injured.
Witnessing the police action Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi got down from the vehicle and went to an injured party worker and enquired about his injuries.
On Saturday afternoon, while leaving from the party headquarters at Akbar Road, Priyanka Gandhi was seen driving the Toyota Innova car with Rahul Gandhi sitting by her side on the front seat.
However, she switched the seat and came back to the rear seat as there was a huge traffic jam on the DND.
It was Rahul and Priyanka’s second attempt to visit Hathras. On Thursday, Gandhi was pushed to the ground by Uttar Pradesh Police personnel when he was marching towards Hathras after their vehicles were stopped on the Yamuna Expressway in Gautam Budh Nagar.
On Friday, Priyanka Gandhi visited Delhi’s Valmiki temple to attend a prayer meeting for the girl who died on Tuesday at a government hospital in Delhi. Priyanka has said that the family of the victim should not feel alone at this point of time.
Congress leaders on Thursday alleged that the police resorted to lathi charge on them when they tried to march towards Hathras.
The Uttar Pradesh government has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the death of the 19-year old girl.
The Uttar Pradesh government also suspended several officials on Friday evening.
Uttar Pradesh Police personnel had sealed the village barring the entry of any mediapersons for the last two days. However, the media was allowed to enter the village earlier today.
The 19-year-old girl, who died on Tuesday at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, suffered fractures, paralysis and a spinal injury after the savage assault.
In a related development, Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi has written to President Ram Nath Kovind, demanding a CRPF security cover for the victim’s family.