The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Monday backed the UP Police’s claim that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi was blocked by the force en route to an arrested IPS officer’s house in Lucknow on Saturday because she deviated from the schedule for the day.
It further stated that Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) I-G Pradeep Kumar Singh entering the premises where Priyanka was staying was “not a breach of protocol” by the UP Police.
It also listed three ways in which the politician had violated protocol, resulting in the face-off with the police.
“On 28th December 2019, the only event indicated (in Priyanka Gandhi’s tour programme) was to visit the PCC office for attending PCC office for attending the Congress foundation function,” the CRPF said in a release.
It said that Priyanka Gandhi had violated security protocol by making an “unscheduled movement” without intimating the agency, travelling in a civil vehicle without personal security officer (PSO) and riding pillion on a two-wheeler.
The force further claimed that despite security constraints, appropriate security cover was provided by the CRPF to Priyanka Gandhi.
The office of Priyanka Gandhi had lodged a complaint with the CRPF, addressed to CRPF IG Pradeep Kumar Singh, regarding an alleged breach of protocol by the UP Police in the state capital Lucknow on Saturday.
“Circle Officer of the Hazratganj Abhay Mishra entered without prior permission the premises at 8.45 a.m, where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the protectee, was staying. He entered into a verbal duel with the CRPF personnel, in-charge of the protectee’s security, mere five meters away from her room,” her office wrote in the complaint.
The police later, reportedly, blocked her movement when she was on her way to visit the house of retired IPS officer SR Darapuri who was arrested for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
It all started at Lohia Path in the UP capital when the Congress leader was stopped by the police. But she sped away on a scooter, driven by party Secretary Dheeraj Gurjar. Later they were again stopped at the Polytechnic Square, form there she walked to ex-IPS officer SR Darapuri’s residence.
Priyanka had alleged that she was manhandled by the police and “grabbed by the neck for no reason”.
“The police stopped me while I was going to meet Darapuri’s family. The cops manhandled me. They surrounded me while I was riding pillion on a party worker’s two-wheeler. After that, I walked to Darapuri’s residence.”
Priyanka alleged that a woman cop had held her by the neck when she insisted on going to the Darapuri residence.
The Lucknow police vehemently denied the incident and said that the woman cop was merely doing her duty and Priyanka had not informed the police of her destination.
According to Congress, Priyanka Gandhi had a close shave when her carcade was blocked by the screeching police vehicles. When they could not stop her, more forces were called to prevent her from moving ahead. “There were only two women cops in the police team that tried to block her way physically,” the Congress alleged.
Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi extended her stay in Lucknow after her fracas with the state police on Saturday.
Before leaving for Rae Bareli, Priyanka held a meeting with party leaders over Saturday’s incident and discussed the future strategy of the party.