The Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday lodged an FIR against Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and 153 Congress workers for violating the Epidemic Diseases Act for their attempted march to Hathras to meet the family of a gang-rape victim who died earlier this week. The complaint, filed at the Gautam Buddh Nagar police station, also names 50 unknown people for not maintaining social distancing and not wearing face masks.
The FIR was lodged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (unlawfully or negligently spreading infection of any disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and under section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, said the police. A few party members have also been booked for indulging in a scuffle during which some women constables were hurt while the uniform of a lady sub-inspector got torn, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police said in a statement.
The Congress earlier in the day staged a dramatic protest, leading to the detention of the Gandhi siblings by UP police. The two leaders were detained in Greater Noida, just outside Delhi when they insisted on marching to Hathras.
The Gandhis and about 150 party workers, held briefly for violating prohibitory orders, were let off after they furnished personal bonds, said the UP Police. The melee on the Yamuna Expressway, during which the former Congress president fell to the ground, was the biggest among scattered protests during the day over the death of the woman who the UP police controversially suggested was not a victim of rape.
According to the police, the Gandhis were repeatedly informed about Section 144 of CrPc in place and a letter from the Hathras District Magistrate, asking no political party to reach the district as it might affect law and order, was also read out to them. Despite all this, the leaders decided to go ahead with their march, said the police.
Another FIR has been lodged against UP Congress leader Ajay Singh Lallu and 50 other workers for damaging a police vehicle, creating a ruckus, not allowing the police to do its work as well as misbehaving with female police personnel.