After Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday claimed that an Uttar Pradesh policewoman strangulated her while she was on her way to meet the family of former IPS officer SR Darapuri, the UP Police denied her allegations and stated that her car was not moving in the 'scheduled' route.
In a letter addressed to the Additional Superintendent of Police (Protocol), Dr. Archana Singh, Circle Officer Modern Control Room, said, "A number of things (such as manhandling and neck grabbing) are being circulated on the social media, which is completely false. I have discharged my duty with full sincerity."
"Smt Vadra departed from UP Congress office for Gokhale Marg. As the other vehicles of the fleet were moving on the scheduled route, the vehicle of Priyanka Gandhi instead moving on the scheduled route (from 1090 crossing) moved towards Lohia Path. At that point of time, I wanted to seek the details of her destination from the security point of view as to where she wanted to go. However, the party workers refused to share any information," she said in the letter.
UP government spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi issued a statement later, saying "Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is trying to make the woman police official a scapegoat for her politics. The woman police official discharged her duty today despite the death of one of her family members. She is deeply hurt by these false allegations."
Priyanka Gandhi said: "UP police stopped me while I was going to meet family of Darapuri ji. Police strangulated and manhandled me. They surrounded me while I was going on a party worker's two-wheeler, after which I walked to reach there." (sic)
Virtually giving police a slip and some anxious moments, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the evening reached the house of retired IPS officer SR Darapuri.
Meanwhile, the UP Police maintained that Priyanka Gandhi was not manhandled. However, they informed that Vadra's car was not moving in the scheduled route.
Kalanidhi Naithini, SSP Lucknow said: "Today, morning area in charge, Dr. Archana Singh has presented a report to Additional Superintendent where she has mentioned that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's car was not moving in the scheduled route rather a different route."
"Singh has also written that whatever rumors are doing rounds on social media of heckling and strangulating Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are wrong," he added.
After meeting party workers, the Congress general secretary headed for the Indiranagar (sector-18) residence of Darapuri. Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh told PTI, "At the Lohia crossing, her vehicle was stopped, she protested and asked as to why was she being stopped."
Singh also said when the police stopped the Congress leader, she started walking. "The policemen also started following her. After walking for almost a kilometre, she again got into her vehicle. After this, when the police tried to stop her in the Munshipulia area, she again started walking and then suddenly turned towards a bylane in Indiranagar's Sector 18. She walked for almost three-four kilometres and gave a slip to the police as well as the party workers," he added.
"The entire traffic has come to a halt and people are feeling disturbed. There is no reason to do so. God knows, ask them why have they stopped (us)," Priyanka Gandhi told reporters.
"What is the reason for stopping us, that too in the middle of the city? This is not an issue of the SPG, but of the Uttar Pradesh police. There is no point stopping us. Will you stop (anyone) in the middle of a crossing?," she asked a police official.
After meeting Darapuri's family members, the Congress general secretary told reporters, "I was going in a peaceful manner, how was the law-and-order scenario going to deteriorate? I did not tell anyone about this (visit), so that not more than three persons accompany me. They do not have the right to stop me. If they want to arrest me, they should do so."
To a question on whether the government felt its politics was in danger because of her, she said, "Everybody's politics is in danger."
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said, "If we want to meet someone and share his sorrows, why is it causing a stomach ache for the government? This government is feeling scared of Priyankaji. Hence, she was stopped."
(With inputs from agencies)
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