Congress delegation with Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi reaches UP's Lakhimpur Kheri
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday reached the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, to meet the families of those killed on Sunday. Eight people, including four farmers, lost their lives Sunday as a Union Minister's convoy rammed into a crowd of protesting farmers. The incident has sparked massive outrage, with the farmers alleging murder. Here are more details.
The Gandhis reached Lakhimpur Kheri Wednesday evening after initially being held back from visiting the region by UP authorities. Notably, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was detained in Sitapur as she proceeded toward Lakhimpur, and placed under formal arrest along with 10 others the next day. The Gandhis were accompanied by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi.
After its initial reluctance, the UP Police allowed all political leaders to visit Lakhimpur Kheri. However, prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144, which ban gatherings of over four people, remain in force. Separately, the convoy of Congress leader Sachin Pilot was stopped in Niyamatpur on the Delhi-Lucknow highway. Pilot was on his way to Lakhimpur Kheri.
Representatives of the Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, among others are set to visit Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday. AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal spoke to the victims' kin telephonically. A delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday, pressing him to ensure that action is "taken against the murderers of innocent farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri."
Farmer leaders have given a week's time to the UP government to arrest Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish, accused of driving an SUV into a crowd of protesting farmers. Eight people—including four farmers—were killed in the incident and the ensuing clashes. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait demanded the Union Minister's resignation, threatening a nationwide agitation upon failure to arrest all accused.
The state units of the Congress party from Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana are planning to march to Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday. Union Minister Mishra reportedly met Amit Shah in Delhi earlier in the day. The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognizance of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and a bench headed by CJI NV Ramana will hear the matter on Thursday.