Lakhimpur violence: Priyanka arrested after 24-hr detention, Chidambaram calls it 'totally illegal'

 Priyanka Gandhi
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has been detained in Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur while on her way to visit violence-hit Lakhimpur district, speaks to the media virtually. Photo: Screenshot from video posted @INCIndia via Twitter

Sitapur/Lucknow: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been arrested after a case was registered against her at the Hargaon police station in Sitapur under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including disobeying prohibitory orders and abetment.

The PAC guest house where she has been under detention since Monday, has been notified as a temporary jail.

The case, according to official sources, has been filed under Sections 151, 107 and 116, on a report given by the station house officer of Hargaon to the magistrate.

Earlier this morning, Priyanka tweeted a viral video of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and asked why has the person behind the killing of four farmers have not been arrested while she has been under detention for 28 hours without an FIR.

Her party alleged that drones were being used to monitor the movement of Priyanka at PAC guest house.

Gandhi was detained in Sitapur on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri where eight people were killed on Sunday. While four of the dead in Sunday's incident were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the others included BJP workers and their driver who were allegedly lynched.

Meanwhile, her colleagues alleged that she was not being allowed to meet her lawyers.

Priyanka Gandhi and other Congress leaders have been in detention beyond 24 hours and a drone camera deployed over the 2nd Battalion PAC guest house in Sitapur where they have been kept, Congress office-bearers claimed.

"She is not being allowed to meet her lawyers and the administration is not telling her reasons for her detention," Congress media and communication vice chairperson Pankaj Srivastava said.

Besides Priyanka Gandhi, state Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu, national secretary Dheeraj Gurjar, Youth Congress national president BV Srinivas, party MLC Deepak Singh are also under detention, he said.

Describing Gandhi's detention as "totally illegal", senior party leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday said it has "conclusively" established that there is no rule of law in Uttar Pradesh, and alleged that the police seem to be carrying out Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's law and his order.

In a statement, Chidambaram said, the facts and circumstances concerning Gandhi's detention in Sitapur "conclusively establish that there is no rule of law in UP".

"She was 'arrested' at 4:30am on Monday, 4th October. She has been detained in the PAC guest house at Sitapur. The District Collector and the judicial magistrate concerned are both stationed in Sitapur. Her arrest and detention are totally illegal and an abuse of power," the former home minister said.

"The arresting police officer told her she was arrested under Section 151 of the CrPC. Any person arrested under S. 151 cannot be detained for more than 24 hours, unless there is an order of the judicial magistrate under any other provision of law," Chidambaram said.

She has been in detention for more than 30 hours and has not been produced before a judicial magistrate, he pointed out.

"There is no order of any judicial magistrate. Her constitutional rights under Articles 19 and 21 have been grossly violated. Her 'arrest' violated several provisions of the CrPC," he said.

Chidambaram underlined that no woman can be arrested after sunset or before sunrise and Gandhi was arrested at 4:30 am, "which is illegal".

"She was arrested by a male police officer -- which is illegal. There was no memorandum of arrest and it was not served upon her and her signature was not taken - which is illegal," Chidamabram said.

"Law and Order in UP seem to mean Mr Adityanath's law and Mr Adityanath's order. The police in UP seem to be not obeying the law but are carrying out Mr Adityanath's law and Mr Adityanath's order," he charged.

Chidambaram asserted that this was "grossly illegal and utterly shameful".

Eight people had died and several others were injured on Sunday in the bloodiest clash since the farmers' protest over the Centre's agri laws began last year.

On Tuesday, she shared a video on Twitter purportedly showing a group of protesting farmers being mowed down by an SUV.

"@narendramodi ji your government has detained me for the past 28 hours without any order or FIR. Why the person who ran over farmers has not been arrested yet?" she said in a tweet in Hindi.

Her party colleague Gurjar shared another video on the microblogging site showing a drone, which he claimed was flying above the guesthouse where Congress leaders have been detained.

The government is so scared of Priyanka Gandhi that even after keeping her under detention, it is using a drone to keep an eye on her, he tweeted in Hindi.

As several Congress leaders took to social media, party workers staged demonstrations till late Monday night and slept on the pavement outside the PAC battalion complex.

The crowd of Congress workers and supporters was thin on Tuesday morning but started to swell after 10 am as more party activists from all over the state thronged Sitapur and occupied all hotels in the vicinity.

District officials said the law and order situation was in control.

According to Srivastava, the illegal detention of party leaders has led to anger among Congress workers.

"The prime minister is coming for a celebration in Lucknow while the farmers of Lakhimpur are waiting for justice," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Lucknow on Tuesday to inaugurate a programme of the 'Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav' celebrations.

Four of the eight dead in Sunday's violence were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to an event in the area. The others were identified as BJP workers and their driver, allegedly pulled out of the vehicles and then lynched by the protesters.

The Uttar Pradesh Police has lodged a case against Union minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish but no arrest has been made so far.  

(With PTI inputs)

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