Hours after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that she was manhandled by police personnel on her way to the residence of a former Indian Police Services officer held for anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, an Uttar Pradesh police officer said the allegations were false.
IMAGE: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra after coming out of residence of ex-IPS officer S R Darapuri in Lucknow on Saturday. Photograph: PTI Photo
Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding the alleged manhandling of Gandhi by UP police.
A high-voltage drama unfolded in Lucknow on Saturday evening as the Congress general secretary alleged she was manhandled by police personnel who grabbed her by the neck and pushed her when she resisted their attempts to stop her from visiting the residence of retired IPS officer S R Darapuri, arrested in connection with the recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
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.’
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.’
Describing the sequence of events, Singh said a tour programme of Priyanka Gandhi was proposed in Lucknow for which she was the fleet in-charge.
‘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.
The circle officer said Priyanka Gandhi got off her vehicle and started walking along with party workers.
Priyanka Gandhi’s office has written to the Central Reserve Police Force VIP security in-charge, alleging that the circle officer issued threats to her security personnel and warned of restricting her movements, sources said on Saturday.
Her office also demanded appropriate action against the officer, the sources said.
The Centre had replaced the Special Protection Group cover of the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, assassinated by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam terrorists on May 21, 1991, with ‘Z-plus’ security provided by the CRPF.
In a letter to Pradeep Kumar Singh, Inspector General, CRPF, Directorate General, Priyanka Gandhi’s office said there was a breach of protocol from circle officer of Hazratganj, Abhay Mishra.
‘This morning at 8.45 am C/O of Hazratganj Mr. Abhay Mishra along with at least a dozen police personnel, entered the premises at which the protectee, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, is staying without prior permission,’ said the letter to Singh, who is in-charge of VIP security.
Mishra then began a heated verbal confrontation with the CRPF personnel in charge of the protectee’s security a mere five metres away from the protectee’s room, Priyanka Gandhi’s office alleged, according to sources.
Mishra shouted at them and demanded information of the protectee’s schedule which had been provided to the authorities a day before, the letter said.
He then accused the CRPF personnel of withholding information since they had readied their fleet as is their standard protocol every morning, it said.
He further threatened the CRPF personnel that he ‘will not provide any security cover’ to the protectee and will not ‘allow’ the protectee ‘to take even two steps out of the premises’, the letter said.
‘The C/O has no jurisdiction or authority to enter the private premises of the protectee and issue threats to her security personnel or to threaten to restrict her movements in any manner,’ Priyanka Gandhi’s office said.
‘This is being brought to your notice so that appropriate action is taken on the part of CRPF in order to ensure that such unruly behaviour by officers of the U.P Police in the close proximity of the protectee is not repeated and maintenance of civility and lawfulness is ensured,’ the letter said.
Under Z-plus security, the Gandhi family is being protected by CRPF commandos in close proximity besides guards at their homes and wherever they travel in the country.
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