Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were on Thursday arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police after they were stopped from marching towards Hathras, the party said.
Rahul Gandhi also fell down in the melee after police tried to stop him and his supporters from proceeding on the Yamuna Expressway. The Gandhis were then taken away in a police jeep.
"Shri Rahul Gandhi, Smt Priyanka Gandhi and senior Congress leaders have been arrested by the UP police," the Congress said on Twitter, using the hashtag "JusticeForIndiasDaughters".
Congress leader Randeep Surjrewala put out a video along with a tweet showing Rahul Gandhi allegedly being roughed up as he marched forward on the Yamuna Expressway.
Pictures of him falling down in the melee were shared by the Congress.
"Lala Lajpat Rai had said that every blow of a stick on my body would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the British Raj.
"The sticks on Rahul ji and Priyanka ji's convoy will also prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the Yogi government," Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress leader P Chidambaram also alleged that none of the country's laws seemed to apply to the UP police.
"UP police is a law into itself. None of the laws of the country seem to apply to it," he alleged.
"What is wrong if the leaders of a political party protest against a gruesome crime and wish to visit the victim's family," he asked on Twitter.
Chidambaram said the two leaders were not violent, they did not carry arms and they were lodging a peaceful protest. "Why should the police stop them from protesting peacefully? Why should the UP police arrest the two leaders and take them away?" "I hope the court where the leaders will be produced will release them," he said.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condemned the Uttar Pradesh police and termed the detention of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as "illegal".
Taking to Twitter, Gehlot said, "I strongly condemn the way UP police has detained Congress leader Rahul Gandhi ji & Priyanka Gandhi ji illegally. They misbehaved with Rahul ji. This is undemocratic & brutal use of force. UP BJP govt's attempt to harass opposition leaders like this is reprehensible."
"UP BJP govt's actions smacks of political vendetta. They are acting in a dictatorial manner," he said.
Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter and wrote, "Godi media terms opposition presence as politicisation: how low will they bend to serve their masters’ agenda? The role of Opposition is to stand up for the victims of a Govt which lets lawlessness run rife, denies any form of justice to the family & tries to cremate the truth (sic)."
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "I strongly condemn the manhandling of Sh. Rahul Gandhi and Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi by UP police. This act is totally unacceptable (sic)."
Jairam Ramesh condemned the incidence and said, "While #HathrasHorror is the direct & disastrous consequence of Yogi's complete misrule, let’s not forget its foundations — NaMo-cracy. @RahulGandhi & @priyankagandhi being detained by UP police for wanting to meet the victim’s family is nothing but throttling democracy in India (sic)."
Former Prime Minister of India H D Devegowda also reacted over the arrest of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi by UP Police.
DMK MP Kanimozhi lashed out at the BJP over the arrest of Rahul Gandhi.
She said, "How can the UP police stop leaders from visiting families of victims. And is this the way to treat anyone. And specially leaders of the opposition. Is there rule of law in UP (sic)? "
Sharad Pawar and other NCP leaders
NCP leaders, including party chief Sharad Pawar, on Thursday, criticised the Uttar Pradesh government after Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's convoy was stopped by police while they were going to visit Hathras victim's family.
Taking to Twitter, Pawar said the "reckless behaviour" of Uttar Pradesh Police towards Rahul Gandhi is "extremely condemnable".
"It is reprehensible for those who are supposed to uphold the law to trample upon the democratic values in such a manner," Pawar tweeted.
Seconding Pawar, Maharashtra Minister and state NCP chief Jayant Patil alleged that the incident highlighted the BJP's practice of "taking the name of Lord Ram, but acting like Nathuram", an apparent reference to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse.
"Treating a key leader of a key party thus is condemnable," he said.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told reporters here that there should be no objection to a leader of a political party going there (Hathras) to condole with the family.
"I feel quite surprised that the Uttar Pradesh government did not allow a senior leader of the party to meet the kin. This is a very serious issue," he said.
NCP MP Supriya Sule also condemned the UP Police's action.
(With inputs from wires)