Lakhimpur: New video shows SUV violently ramming into unarmed farmers
A new clip of an SUV ramming into a farmers' protest in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh has emerged. The higher quality video shows the SUV, which belonged to Union Minister of State (Home) Ajay Mishra, mowing down a group of farmers at great speed. Earlier, a slowed-down, lower-quality version of the video had been widely shared by Opposition leaders.
What does the video show?
The video shows the unarmed farmers walking peacefully as a speeding SUV approaches them from behind. The vehicle speedily rams into the farmers, mowing down a crowd ahead of them, as two other cars follow. The video does not show the farmers attacking the vehicles with stones and sticks—as alleged by Mishra and his son Ashish, who is accused of being behind the wheel.
What happened in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday?
The violent incident took place on Sunday, when the farmers were reportedly protesting the Centre's farm laws ahead of an event in Mishra's paternal village in Lakhimpur Kheri's Tikunia. Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya was to be the chief guest at the event. Mishra's son Ashish was going to receive Maurya when the farmers staged a demonstration.
Mishra claims son wasn't present at site
Mishra has confirmed that the vehicles belonged to his family. However, he has denied the charge that his son was driving the vehicle that rammed into the crowd. They also claimed that the farmers were attacking the convoy and the driver "lost control," which led to the cars accidentally crushing some people. Eight people—including four farmers—were killed in the incident and the ensuing clash.
SC takes suo motu cognizance of incident
The clip emerged on the same day that the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana will hear the matter on Thursday. The bench also comprises Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli. Reportedly, the bench has taken note of reports in the media along with a letter written to it.
Politicians who tried visiting victims' kin were initially arrested
The Lakhimpur Kheri incident has been mired in controversy. Shortly after the incident came to light, Opposition leaders tried to visit Lakhimpur to visit the families of those deceased. However, they were restrained, and some, including Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, were even arrested. The political leaders, including Vadra, were eventually released and allowed to meet the families on Wednesday.