Hooda said he along with Priyanka have been in custody along Sitapur police lines for about 40 hours, and “no one is allowed” to meet them – echoing the Congress general secretary’s statement. “If we’re in police custody, we should have been produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, which has not happened,” he told ANI.
Hours after Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi issued a statement while being detained in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district, party leader Deepender Singh Hooda told news agency ANI that she has spoken to some members of the families of the Lakhimpur Kheri victims over the phone. “We have permission to use phones. Physically we are not allowed to go but on call we have sympathised with them,” Hooda was quoted as saying by ANIL
Hooda further claimed that it was through media that they learnt about a First Information Report (FIR) being filed against him, Priyanka and other Congress leaders while they were en route to Lakhimpur Kheri earlier in the day. He added that police were not sharing any details with them.
The Congress MP has also called for the resignation of Union MoS Ajay Mishra Teni over the violence in Lakhimpur, which claimed the lives of eight people, including four protesting farmers.
The Congress MP noted that under Section 151 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) – used to arrest them by Uttar Pradesh, individuals cannot be detained beyond 24 hours. Hooda, according to the ANI report, has demanded an investigation into the matter by a sitting judge. He added that Congress leaders were kept from meeting the families of the Lakhimpur Kheri victims while leaders of other opposition parties such as Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have been allowed to visit Lakhimpur.
Hooda’s statement comes soon after Priyanka’s wherein she said that the Uttar Pradesh police used illegal physical force on her and her colleagues, and didn’t allow her to meet legal counsel who had been standing at the gate of her Sitapur guest house since morning.
The Congress general secretary further claimed that of the 11 people who were named by the police, eight of them “were not present” at the time she was arrested. “In fact, they have even named two persons who brought clothes from Lucknow on the afternoon of October 4,” her statement read.
Earlier in the day, Hargaon Police station SHO Brijesh Tripathi told the media that an FIR was lodged against 11 people, including Priyanka, Hooda and Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu for “disturbing peace.”