Congress vice-president set to visit Shabbirpur village, hotbed of the latest caste clashes
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday set out to visit Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh which is on the boil following caste clashes between Thakurs and Dalits. With the state police denying him permission for the visit, Rahul is reportedly visiting the district to see how far the administration will let him go.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior party leader Raj Babbar are accompanying Rahul on his visit.
Additional Director General (ADG) (Law and Order) Aditya Mishra said on Saturday that Rahul will be stopped at the Saharanpur border if he tries to enter the district.
He had earlier denied permission to any politician to visit the clash-hit town. Mishra said anyone planning to visit will have to wait for a few days.
Press Trust of India had also quoted another senior police officer Bablu Kumar as saying, “Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has not been given permission to visit Saharanpur.”
Rahul is set to visit Shabbirpur village, the hotbed of clashes, “to take stock of the prevailing situation”, according to Congress leaders.
Dubbing it “political tourism”, the BJP has denounced his visit. Uttar Pradesh health minister Sidharth Nath Singh has said, “He wants photo opportunities. That is what he is known for. The administration will certainly not give him the permission.”
A Dalit man was killed and several injured in violence unleashed by Thakurs on supporters of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who was visiting Shabbirpur village, this week. The attack was in retaliation to an incident of torching of 12 Rajput homes.
The state government, led by Yogi Adityanath, has blamed the death on Mayawati’s visit and called the frequent violence in the district the result of a “well-planned conspiracy”.