Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other Congress leaders were reportedly taken into custody by the Delhi Police on Thursday, during a protest march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to demand a repeal of the centre's controversial farm laws. Reports suggest the opposition members, led by Rahul Gandhi, were marching to submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind, arguing against the laws that have sparked wide farmers' protests, most prominently at the national capital's Singhu border. Congress' petition allegedly includes signatures of close to 2 crore farmers and farm labourers.
Indian Express reports leaders detained, aside from Priyanka Gandhi, include KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala. A small delegation was reportedly allowed to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan to submit their proposal, while Gandhi and others were taken away in a bus. News agency quoted Gandhi as saying, "It is a sin to use the kind of names they (BJP leaders & supporters) used for farmers. If Govt is calling them anti-nationals, then the govt is a sinner."
Sometimes they say we are so weak that we don't qualify as Opposition and sometimes, they say that we are so powerful that we have made lakhs of farmers camp at the border (of Delhi) for a month. They should first decide what we are: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi pic.twitter.com/3tPGizShIY— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2020
Opposition To The Centre's Controversial Farm Laws
Congress, the primary opposition to the ruling BJP, has been a strong critic of the three farm laws proposed by the Centre: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Farmers protesting at the Delhi border for 29 days now have expressed severe grievances with the reforms, claiming their agrarian livelihoods will be at risk, since the entry of corporate players in the farming sector will purportedly “put farmers and their families at the mercy of agri-businesses.”
Opposition leaders have previously claimed that the reforms were passed in Parliament in an "undemocratic" manner. Their campaign to collect farmers' signatures on their proposal to the President was reportedly launched in September.
Priyanka Gandhi On Being Detained By The Police
The Congress leaders are expected to be released by the Delhi Police soon, according to NDTV. Upon her detention, Gandhi further said, "Sometimes they say we are so weak that we don't qualify as Opposition and sometimes, they say that we are so powerful that we have made lakhs of farmers camp at the border (of Delhi) for a month. They should first decide what we are."
Her brother, on her and other leaders' arrest, has stated, "There is no democracy in India."
A similar incident played out earlier in the year when Gandhi and her brother were halted by authorities from proceeding to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh after the gangrape of a Dalit woman. Gandhi was lauded for her extreme grit and compassion in later meeting the bereaved family. Read more here.