A Lucknow cop has denied claims that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was manhandled last night when she was on her way to meet a retired IPS officer, who has been arrested for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, adding that the Congress leader was stopped "when she changed her route".
On Saturday, Ms Gandhi said that cops in Lucknow stopped her cavalcade when she was heading to the house of 76-year-old SR Darapuri, forcing her to hitch a ride on a party worker's scooter. Upon being stopped again at another intersection two kilometres away, she decided to cover the rest of the way to Mr Darapuri's residence at Sector 18, Indiranagar, on foot.
"The UP police stopped me while I was going to meet Darapuriji's family. They grabbed me by the neck and manhandled me. They then surrounded me while I was going on a party worker's two-wheeler, after which I walked to reach there," news agency ANI quoted the 47-year-old leader as saying. She had also said that a woman officer pushed her to the ground in the course of the scuffle.
A senior Lucknow cop denied the claims in an official statement. "There is no shred of truth in the claims being made on social media that cops grabbed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's neck, pushed her. I was just performing my duties," Archana Singh clarified in her letter to her seniors and district administration.
Explaining the course of events, she wrote: "Priyanka Gandhi was scheduled to visit several places across Lucknow and I was deployed as the fleet in-charge. She was scheduled to go from party headquarters (in the city) to 23/2 Kaul House Gokhale Marg, the cars in the fleet were following her vehicle."
"When her car suddenly took a detour, I sought information about her destination due to security concerns. The party workers refused to give information. Later, Priyanka Gandhi got down from her car and started walking with her party workers," she said, adding that " change of route by VIPs leads to traffic issues".
Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday had rejected arguments that she may have been stopped to preserve the "law and order" situation in the city. "How was the law-and-order scenario going to deteriorate when I was going in a peaceful manner? They do not have the right to stop me. If they want to arrest me, they should do so," she told reporters after meeting the retired IPS officer's family.