A Congress worker was roughed up by her colleagues at a party meet in Deoria after she alleged that a "rapist" had been given the ticket for the assembly by-election, prompting the party to order a probe into the incident and expel two members for "indiscipline".
The woman, Tara Yadav, lodged a police complaint against four office-bearers of the party, including the district president, for allegedly beating and molesting her.
National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma said she has written to Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police seeking strict action against the accused.
Who is Tara Yadav?
Tara Yadav is a Congress worker from Uttar Pradesh. She has been associated with the party for four years, Yadav said.
Yadav was thrashed by party workers in Uttar Pradesh for questioning the party's decision to field Mukund Bhaskar from the Deoria Assembly seat in the upcoming bypolls, said that giving a ticket to a 'rapist' will malign the image of the party.
As the videos of the ugly scenes at the meeting held on Saturday went viral sparking outrage, an embarrassed state unit of the Congress termed it as a "political conspiracy" to defame the party.
According to eyewitnesses, Yadav allegedly tried to "manhandle" party secretary Sachin Naik, and also hurled a bouquet towards him during the meeting on Saturday.
Yadav was protesting over the party nominating Mukund Bhaskar Mani for the November 3 by-polls, accusing him of being a rapist, a charge denied by him.
As she hurled a bouquet towards Sachin Naik, angry workers allegedly roughed up Yadav and whisked her out of the meeting venue, the eyewitnesses claimed.
"A police complaint has been received. The matter is being probed. However, no case has been registered so far," SHO Kotwali Chandrabhan Singh said.
Yadav, who claimed to be associated with the party for four years, said she was only questioning the choice of candidate and never expected that the party members would react in such a manner.
"You have given the ticket to a rapist, and this has tarnished the image of Congress. You could have given the ticket to someone else. As I said this, I was pushed by someone from behind. Can I not even put forth my point of view. These people want to destroy the Congress and end it," Yadav said.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the UP Congress said, "In the context of by-polls to the Deoria assembly constituency, a meeting was held at the party office in Deoria on October 10. In this meeting, Deendayal Yadav and Ajay Kumar Sainthwar indulged in indiscipline, and have been expelled from the party with immediate effect." "The incident is a political conspiracy to defame the Congress party," it said, adding a three-member probe committee has been formed on the directives of UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.
The committee will submit its report to Lallu within three days.
Two party leaders, Deen Dayal Yadav and Ajay Kumar Sainthwar, have been expelled from the party.
In a video message, NCW chief Rekha Sharma lamented that such incidents discourage women from joining politics.
" A woman in a political meeting was being badly beaten up. Taking cognisance of it, I have written to UP DGP seeking strict action against the accused.
"We want women to join politics but if these kinds of incidents take place then how will we empower women and motivate them to join politics. I appeal to UP police to arrest the accused at the earliest," Sharma said.
Exasperated Twitterati slammed the national party for thrashing the leader who spoke up about the decision to field a rape accused.
A Twitter user said "From the same state where @RahulGandhi & @priyankagandhi came down to just a few days back to visit #HathrasCase victim family. But this is how men in @INCIndia treat women who have an opinion! Who has the spine to stand up to your tyranny! #TaraYadav Shame!"