- The CRPF provides Z+ security to the Congress leader
- There was no "breach of security" by a senior UP cop, the CRPF said
- In a statement, three ways were listed in which she violated protocol
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's security personnel have denied her claim that her security was breached on Saturday and backing the claims of the Uttar Pradesh Police, said it was she who violated security protocol during her visit to Lucknow, which led to a face-off with the police. The Central Reserve Police Force -- which reports to the Union home ministry and provides security to Ms Gandhi Vadra after the withdrawal of her SPG (Special Protection Group) cover last month -- said the police tried to stop her from visiting an arrested IPS officer's house as she had deviated from her schedule.
In a press release, the CRPF also listed three ways in which she violated security protocol, and added that a police officer's visit to her "place of stay" earlier that morning did not constitute a security breach.
"On 28th December 2019, the only event indicated (in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's tour programme) was to visit the PCC office for attending the Congress foundation function," the CRPF said in the release. It claimed that the Congress leader, however, violated security protocol by indulging in "unscheduled movements" without intimating the agency; travelling without the personal security officer in a civilian vehicle; and riding pillion on a two-wheeler.
A major controversy had erupted in Lucknow on Saturday, when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the Uttar Pradesh policewomen had "manhandled" her while trying to stop her from visiting the family of retired IPS officer SR Darapuri, who was arrested earlier that week for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Congress leader said that policewomen "grabbed her by the neck" and pushed her to the ground during the scuffle that broke out, and she finally reached her destination by hitching a ride on a two-wheeler and then walking the rest of the way.
The paramilitary force, in the release, also rejected an allegation made by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's office that a police officer had threatened her security personnel and warned that her movements in Lucknow would be "restricted". "On December 28, Hazratganj Circle Officer Abhay Mishra visited her place of stay around 0800 hours only to enquire about the protectee's detailed programme for the day," it said, clarifying that there was "no breach of security" by the person concerned.
"Members of Sonia Gandhi's family have a habit of going beyond the security cover and visiting places without informing their security officials.Such people have no right to raise questions about their security," news agency ANI quoted G Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home, as saying.
A series of security-related missteps had occurred through the month, after the CRPF took over Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's security as part of the Z-plus protection given to her. While security personnel guarding her residence allowed a family through the gates because their vehicle looked similar to that of her brother Rahul Gandhi on December 3, a man managed to get past the Congress leader's security detail during an event in Lucknow on Saturday.
Meanwhile, agitations continue against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which makes religion the test of citizenship in India for the first time. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.
(With inputs from Agencies)