LUCKNOW: Taking on the state government once again, Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra staged a protest in the state capital on Wednesday on being stopped by police from going to Agra. Priyanka, UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu and others were going to meet the family of Arun Valmiki, who reportedly died in police custody on Tuesday. She was later allowed to proceed along with five persons. Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told reporters in Kushinagar: “No one will be allowed to defy the law and order in the state.” Valmiki, 30, posted as sweeper at a police station in Agra, was accused of stealing Rs 25 lakh from the maalkhana. Agra police said he fell ill during a raid at his house on Tuesday night and was taken to hospital where doctors declared him ‘brought dead’. Rs 15 lakh in cash were recovered from his house. His family and local leaders blamed police for his death following which Priyanka cancelled all her meetings in Lucknow on Wednesday, which happened to be Valmiki Jayanti, and was proceeding to Agra to meet the grieving family. Video footage of Priyanka’s argument with police officials were posted on social media by party workers. “The moment I try to go somewhere, all this tamasha starts. This is becoming ridiculous,” she said, adding it was her constitutional right to move freely in the country. She asserted she would visit the family come what may and would go the moment she is released. The cops told Priyanka that she had been stopped on the orders of Agra district magistrate urging Lucknow Police to stop political leaders from visiting because of a law and order threat. “Wherever I go… I have to seek permission,” she told the officer who replied, “It is a law and order issue.” “Someone has died. What is the law and order problem here?” she countered. Around 3.45 pm, Priyanka, Lallu and Pramod Krishnam were taken to Lucknow Police Lines. Lucknow police commissioner DK Thakur denied her detention and said, “Priyanka Gandhi was neither detained nor arrested. She was stopped as her cavalcade was obstructing traffic on Lucknow-Agra expressway.” Congress workers gathered at police lines demanding release of Priyanka, who was later given permission to go to Agra with four persons. Priyanka also tweeted demanding a high-level probe in Valmiki’s death. “What is the UP government afraid of? Why am I being stopped?” she wrote, adding PM Narendra Modi may be singing paeans for Mahatma Buddha and on Valmiki Jayanti but ignores their teachings in real life.

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