Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is in Punjab to protest against new farm laws, today said "it's no big deal" that he was pushed and he fell to the ground last week during a tussle with police when he was marching to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh to meet the family of the 20-year-old victim allegedly gang raped and tortured in the UP district.
Taking a dig at the government, the ex-Congress chief told reporters this afternoon: "The entire country is being pushed to corner and being beaten up. What's the big deal if I was pushed. It's our job to protect the country, we have to stand with the farmers. The government is such that if we stand against them, we will be pushed. Dhakka kha lenge, lathi kha lenge (we will bear the push and the lathis)."
"Jo unimaginable dhakka laga... wo us parivar ko laga...... (The actually push that was felt... was felt by the victim's family)."
"People who have daughters will understand this. Do you have a daughter? If not, you will understand the murder aspect of the (Hathras) case. Imagine, someone kills your son and locks you up in your house. The District Magistrate threatens you and tells you to not open your mouth. What if they tell you: 'Rahul Gandhi will go but UP government will be here'. That's why I went there so they don't feel alone. I am here for all the women who have faced sexual violence," Mr Gandhi said, talking to reporters.
Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the victim's family on Saturday, four days after she died at a hospital in Delhi. They were allowed to go to Hathras, two days after their march to the UP district was thwarted.
Dramatic visuals showed Mr Gandhi being pushed and falling to the ground amid a tussle with UP cops last Thursday. The next day, Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien was stopped from meeting the victim's family in a similar manner.
A case has been filed against 500 Congress workers for "unlawful assembly" at Delhi-UP border the day when the Gandhis visited the family, news agency PTI reported. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen in a video trying to protect some of the supporters who had gathered at the border and were lathicharged.
Mr Gandhi today also referred to the allegations that the Hathras family was threatened by the District Magistrate. "Do not finish your credibility. These media people... some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change," District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar is heard saying in the video filmed on a mobile phone.
The allegations, however, have been dismissed by the UP officials.