GREATER NOIDA: The city on Thursday turned into the epicentre of protests against the brutal Hathras gangrape-murder, with the arrests of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, who were halted on their way to meet the victim’s family, triggering outrage among party workers, sloganeering, clashes with cops, and three-hour-long traffic jams.
The police action against the Gandhis was followed soon after by nearly 200 party members, led by state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, courting arrest in protest.
The workers sat on the Yamuna Expressway for nearly 45 minutes and said they would not move till they were allowed to go to Hathras. Some sat on top of vehicles in the cavalcade and raised slogans against the Yogi Adityanath government. Police lathicharged the protesters and later arrested them.
About 203 persons, including 153 named and 50 unnamed, were booked under various sections of the IPC and the Epidemic Act. An FIR was lodged against 50 leaders, including Lallu, mandal president Virendra Guddu and the party’s GB Nagar district president Manoj Chaudhary, under IPC sections 332, 353, 427, 323, 354b, 147 and 148.
Calling the Yogi government ‘autocratic’, Lallu said first it could not save the gang-rape victim and was now resorting to cruelty against Congress workers.
“Rahulji has been beaten up. Priyankaji has been beaten up. All the workers have been beaten up. What does the government want to do? Is there no democracy left? There is a state of anarchy under the BJP government,” he said.
He added that rape cases were being lodged nearly every day in the state, and it was their ‘dharma’ to raise voice for the victims.
Lallu claimed that nearly two dozen workers were beaten up.
“When Rahulji wanted to walk, they resorted to lathicharge on him and Priyankaji. They have been hurt. Our workers have been hurt… Why this politics of oppression? This government reminds of the British rule. As per NCRB records, UP is No. 1 in crime against women and every day, around 11 rape cases are being lodged here,” the Congress leader pointed out.
During the dharna, police and the Congress functionaries traded both blows and charges.
“Why are we being stopped? The UPCC chief is sitting here. Our leaders have been arrested. What kind of brute force is this?” asked AICC spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, alleging that police ‘hurled abuses and lathicharged them.
“Shoot us if you want. This is goondagardi (hooliganism). Women are raped and buried in the night,” said Deepika Pandey, an MLA from Jharkhand.
Additional DCP Ranvijay Singh, on the other hand, claimed that some women workers ‘misbehaved’ with a cop when they were stopped from going to Hathras.
Meanwhile, the day-long drama turned into a nightmare for commuters. As hundreds of Congress leaders were stopped near zero point, traffic came to a complete halt for at least three hours and saw a pileup of nearly 5km on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. Vehicles travelling towards Mathura and Agra were delayed due to the jam.
Many frustrated commuters failed to find a way to cross and many took to driving on the wrong side to climb the second loop of the Yamuna Expressway.
“We understand Rahul and Priyanka are here and have been stopped. But what is the fault of the commuters?” said Ramesh Bhati, a local who was on his way to Jewar.
As the senior Congress leaders were stopped near Mursadpur village in Greater Noida, traffic from the Mathura side was diverted to the other carriageway.



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