Union Minister Smriti Irani was stopped by some Congress workers in Varanasi this afternoon soon after she attacked Rahul Gandhi over his visit to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh amid outrage over the alleged gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman.
"People are aware of the Congress's tactics... That's why they ensured a historic win for the BJP in 2019 elections," the BJP leader had earlier told reporters today, taking a sharp dig at the ex-Congress chief.
"I cannot stop a leader in a democratic nation but people understand that their visit to Hathras is for their politics and not for justice to the victim," she added.
Unhappy with her comments, some Congress workers tried to stop her car in Varanasi and were heard chanting slogans: "Smriti Irani go back" and "we seek justice".
Visuals showed Ms Irani, in a blue and black sari, wearing a mask, and surrounded by a large number of protesters while she was sitting in her car. A few protesters were seen carrying placards. Some of the Congress workers were later detained.
Earlier today, Mr Gandhi tweeted in Hindi: "No power in the world can stop me from meeting this grieving family and sharing their pain."
He and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are likely to visit Hathras this afternoon to meet the victim's family.
While the village's borders were opened this morning after 48 hours, a senior official said that only reporters are allowed.
"Rahul Gandhi is not allowed... currently the arrival of any political party leader is banned," Hathras Joint Magistrate Prem Prakash Meena told news agency ANI, adding, "When orders come to allow delegations, we will let everybody know."
On Thursday both Mr Gandhi and Mrs Gandhi Vadra were stopped in UP's Greater Noida (near Delhi) and briefly taken into custody. Mr Gandhi was manhandled and pushed to the ground by the cops in that tussle, prompting indignation at the UP government's handling of opposition leaders.
However, Ms Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in the Congress's stronghold Amethi last year in Lok Sabha elections, today said that Yogi Adityanath government will ensure justice for the victim's family.
Hitting back at the Union Minister, Congress's Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted in Hindi: "Dear Smriti Irani ji, just tell us... When will you go to Yogi Adityanath with bangles." He was referring to the BJP leader sending bangles to ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2013, while protesting against his government.
The brutality to the Hathras woman, who belonged to the Scheduled Castes, and the post-midnight funeral by the police has yet again triggered nationwide outrage against crime against women.