Sidhu to lead Punjab Congress march to Lakhimpur Kheri
The Punjab Congress will take out a protest march to Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri against the BJP-led government for the "brutal murders" of farmers. The march will start on Thursday from Mohali under the leadership of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Notably, Sidhu had warned on Tuesday that the Punjab Congress would march to Lakhimpur if the culprit was not arrested by Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Sidhu tweeted about the detention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and said, "Unlawful detention beyond 24 hours is a clear violation of the fundamental rights." At the time of the tweet, Gandhi had been in detention for over 54 hours. Sidhu also slammed the UP Police and the BJP, accusing them of violating the "spirit of the Constitution" and "basic human rights."
On Tuesday, Sidhu had given a Wednesday deadline to arrest Ashish Mishra—Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son—whose convoy crushed a group of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. "If by tomorrow, the Union Minister's son behind the brutal murder of farmers is not arrested, and our leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra being unlawfully arrested...is not released, the Punjab Congress will march toward Lakhimpur Kheri," Sidhu had tweeted.
After its initial reluctance, the UP Police has allowed politicians to visit Lakhimpur Kheri. However, it maintained that they will be allowed to visit in groups of five or less as CrPC Section 144 has been enforced. UP ADG Law and Order Prashant Kumar said that the prohibition imposed by the government is to maintain peace in the region.
Following the lifting of prohibition, delegations of the Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party are likely to visit Lakhimpur Kheri soon. Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi were also allowed to visit the scene of the violence on Wednesday. An AAP delegation—led by MLA Raghav Chadha—that was detained on Tuesday, would also be allowed to visit the district.
Reacting to politicians heading to Lakhimpur Kheri, UP Minister Sidharth Nath Singh had earlier said that the Opposition is doing "negative" politics over a very sensitive issue. Taking a dig at such politicians, Singh said the people who do politics on Twitter want to visit Lakhimpur Kheri for a "photo-op." "You meet the family, no problem...But you can't be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere."