Days after being arrested and sent back, Rahul Gandhi once again set off for Uttar Pradesh's Hathras on Saturday to meet with the family of the 19-year-old girl who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered. And if the security preparations that have been undertaken ahead of his visit are any indication, it might not be quite a smooth trip.
Similar to their previous attempt, the two, along with party leaders and supporters were stopped at Delhi-Noida border. However, after a brief halt, they were reportedly given the option of permitting a group of five people into the state.
"A group of five persons can meet the victim's family," news agency ANI had quoted ACS Home Avnish Awasthi as saying.
"Five Congress leaders have been allowed to visit Hathras," announced Rahul Gandhi.
Sources said that Congress leaders K.C. Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and P.L. Puniya will be accompanying Rahul and Priyanka to Hathras.
Ahead of the visit, barricades were installed at the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) flyway where scores of policemen, including senior officers, were present at 12.30 pm, even as CrPC section 144 remained imposed in UP's Gautam Buddh Nagar. A local police officer told PTI that while the border was not sealed, "checks have been intensified at the Delhi-Noida border".
This is the Gandhis' second attempt to travel to Hathras and meet the family of the victim. Two days ago, their car had been stopped at the Yamuna Expressway, following which the Congress leaders had begun walking. This too was soon put to an end.
Both Congress leaders alleged they were manhandled and roughed up by police personnel while they were marching towards Hathras to meet the victim's family. While allegations of a lathi-charge as made by Rahul have been denied Noida Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP) Ranvijay Singh has denied this. At the same time, a video has surfaced wherein amid the chaos, Rahul Gandhi can be seen stumbling and falling down.