Vehicles of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit gang-rape victim, were stopped in Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida on Thursday, party officials said.
The convoy was stopped near Pari Chowk, prompting party workers and senior leaders to proceed on foot, with some functionaries saying they will walk down to Hathras.
Gandhi, along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other senior leaders had left Delhi on Thursday to meet the family of the Hathras rape victim. They began marching towards Hathras after their vehicle was stopped near the Yamuna Expressway.
Later Rahul Gandhi told the media, "Just now police pushed me, lathi-charged me and threw me on the ground. I want to ask, can only (Narendra) Modiji walk in this country? Can't a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking."
#WATCH Just now police pushed me, lathicharged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi Ji walk in this country? Can't a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Yamuna Expressway,on his way to #Hathras pic.twitter.com/nhu2iJ78y8 — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 1, 2020
A large number of Congress workers from Uttar Pradesh accompanied the two leaders on their march towards Hathras. They also raised slogans against the UP government.
Talking to reporters while walking on the Yamuna Expressway towards Hathras, Priyanka Gandhi said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should take responsibility for the alleged gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the district and strict action should be taken against the perpetrators of the crime. The victim died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday.
"Since our cars have been stopped, we will walk down to Hathras as we want to meet the victim's family. We want to express our condolences to the family," Priyanka Gandhi said.
"He (Adityanath) would have to do something for women's safety. We will continue to fight till the time he does something. The women in the entire state will fight as they realise that they are not safe and secure. Everyday such incidents are happening. Eleven rape cases are registered in Uttar Pradesh everyday," she said.
The Congress general secretary recalled that around the same time last year, her party was protesting for the Unnao rape victim.
Attacking the UP government for "not allowing the family to cremate the woman with honour", she said, "You claim to be the protectors of the Hindu religion, we are Hindus, but where has it been written that you cannot allow a father to lit the pyre of his daughter and not allow the family to cremate the victim?
"The incident was a big injustice. What the state government did after that was a bigger injustice," she said, adding the Adityanath must ensure that atrocities against women are stopped.
Around the same time last year, we were fighting for the Unnao daughter and the situation in UP has not changed in a year, Priyanka Gandhi told reporters as she started walking on the expressway. The Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath must take responsibility for women safety in the state and ensure atrocities against them are stopped, she added.