Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday came out in defence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his detention amid scuffles when he and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were marching towards Hathras in Uttar Pradesh to meet the family of a 19-year-old girl who was allegedly gangraped and murdered.

Also Read: ‘Will not fear anyone…’: Rahul Gandhi quotes Mahatma Gandhi day after protest on Hathras horror

“Rahul Gandhi is a national political leader. We may have differences with Congress but nobody can support the Police’s behaviour with him…His collar was caught and he was pushed to the ground, in a way it’s a gangrape of the country’s democracy,” Raut said in Mumbai, reports ANI.

The alleged gangrape of the Dalit girl and the subsequent alleged heavy-handedness by the police, who did not let her family perform her last rites, has triggered an uproar across the country.

The Hathras administration on Thursday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 for maintaining law and order in the area and ordered to seal the borders of the district even as protests intensified over the incident. The Gandhis, after their vehicles were stopped in Greater Noida’s Pari Chowk, decided to walk the approximately 170-km distance to Hathras.

As their march reached Yamuna Expressway near the Jewar toll plaza, the Congress workers got into a scuffle with the police. The pictures of the scuffle, shared on social media and by TV channels, showed Rahul Gandhi being pushed to the ground by the police.

Later in the day, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police filed an FIR against Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi and around 200 other party workers under The Epidemic Diseases Act for not maintaining social distancing and not wearing face masks.

The FIR was lodged under Indian Penal Code 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, news agency PTI reported.