Police detained Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other Congress leaders — dragging them into police vehicles — from outside the party headquarters in Delhi today as they were protesting against unemployment and price-rise.
Dressed in black like other party leaders as a mark of protest, Priyanka Gandhi had climbed over barricades to reach the spot. She held a brief sit-in before being forcibly taken away by cops. Police had denied permission for the protest — which included a "PM House gherao" plan — citing law and order.
Her brother, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, was detained a little while before she was. The leaders were restricted to a hall in Kingsway Camp in GTB Nagar before being released six hours later.
In a video tweeted by the party — apparently when she was going to the protest site — Priyanka Gandhi said, "The government thinks it can silence us. It thinks that by showing us this (police) force, it can make us quietly sit in buses... But we have a purpose."
#WATCH | They (BJP) think Opposition can be muzzled. As their ministers can't see inflation, we want to show them inflation by marching towards PM house...PM Modi has handed over the assets of country to his friends:Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra— ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2022
(Source: AICC) pic.twitter.com/PWtH7EC2dI
Before pulling Priyanka Gandhi into a vehicle, police were seen trying to persuade her to end the protest. But she refused to move, gesturing to cops that she has a right to protest.
Police had barricaded key areas to disallow the protest. The party had announced a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan too. Prohibitory orders, banning large gatherings in parts of Delhi, had already been announced by the administration. Citing these restrictions, police had denied permission for the protest and today detained the protesters.
Ahead of the protest, Rahul Gandhi said, "We're witnessing the death of democracy."
Democracy is a memory. pic.twitter.com/CnobQwSm44— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 5, 2022
"What India has built brick by brick, starting almost a century ago, is being destroyed in front of your eyes. Anybody who stands against this idea of onset of dictatorship is viciously attacked, jailed, arrested and beaten up," he said.
The BJP retorted with a jibe, asking if there's democracy within the Congress, calling it a "dynastic" party.
Before starting the protest, Congress MPs led by party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi wore black clothes to Parliament. Proceedings were adjourned as Congress members created an uproar over the alleged misuse of probe agencies and the government "ignoring people's issues".
The government says the situation isn't particularly bad.
Government data, however, says India's annual retail inflation climbed to 7.01% in June, from 6.26% a year earlier. This was above the central bank's tolerance band of 2-6% for the sixth month in a row.
Protests are also being held against the levy of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on essential items that were earlier out of its ambit.