Following the Lakhimpur Kheri violence yesterday, on October 3, three prominent opposition leaders in Uttar Pradesh have been arrested or detained. Those arrested include Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi. Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party member Sanjay Singh has been detained.
Two key opposition leaders of Uttar Pradesh – Akhilesh Yadav, chief of Samajwadi party, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, general secretary of All India Congress Committee – have been arrested after they were stopped from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri district, where eight people, including four farmers and three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers, succumbed to the violence clashes yesterday on October 3.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was today on October 4 arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police from outside his residence in state capital Lucknow where he staged a protest after being stopped from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri.
A video circulating on social media shows that the Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was on her way to the clash site, was arrested in Hargaon today. So far, there is no official statement by the UP police on her arrest.
“She was arrested early in the morning at around 5am. She was only thirty-forty kilometres from the clash site. Dipendra Hudda [MP from the Indian National Congress], Dhiraj Gurjar ji [AICC National Secretary], her personal assistant, and Ajay Kumar Lallu ji [President of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee] were also arrested,” Noida-based Pankhudi Pathak, social media department, Congress, told Gaon Connection.
“They are not allowing anyone to reach Sitapur or Lakhimpur now. Many of our party workers have been arrested at Lucknow and Sitapur borders,” she added.
The national spokesperson for the Aam Aadmi Party Sanjay Singh has been detained. “He [Sanjay Singh] was detained last night at 2:30 am. He has been detained in Biswa (near Sitapur) in a guest house. Nobody is allowed to meet him,” the party spokesperson told Gaon Connection.
“We demand a CBI probe into the matter and the minister’s son and minister should be arrested as soon as possible. Our protest will start officially in all the district headquarters at 1pm,” he added.
Reportedly, an FIR has been registered against Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son for allegedly running a car over protesting farmers at the clash site in Lakhimpur Kheri.
It is reported that four farmers were killed when the driver of the vehicle carrying the son of Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra “Teni” mowed down farmers protesting at the clash site in Lakhimpur Kheri. Thereafter, three BJP workers and the driver are claimed to have been lynched by the mob.
Farmers have alleged that the driver of the car carrying the minister’s son mowed down a group of farmers as he tried to swerve away from the crowd. However, the Union Minister has denied the presence of his son at the clash site.
The tussle that started with protests against the arrival of ministers for an annual wrestling competition is turning into a political tussle in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh.
Last night, Gandhi was reportedly stopped by the police several times on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri, thereafter she started walking to the clash site. However, as per the videos shared by the Congress party workers it is not clear how far she walked.
In a tweet, Gandhi said: “The way farmers are being mowed down, I do not have words for that. For many months, farmers have been raising their voice. The government is not listening to them. Whatever happened shows that this government is doing politics to finish farmers. This country is the land of farmers … when you have to use physical force it means the government and the police have lost the moral standard … I have stepped out to meet families of victims. What wrong have I done? You are stopping me, my car, why are you doing that?”
Meanwhile, UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi has asked Lucknow airport not to allow Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder S Randhawa to land at the airport.
“The government of Uttar Pradesh is issuing a decree not to allow me to come to the state. Have civil rights been suspended in Uttar Pradesh? If Section 144 is in Lakhimpur, then why is the dictatorial government stopping you from landing in Lucknow?” Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel tweeted.
“Chhattisgarh and Punjab CM were supposed to reach the site today. But the UP government has stopped their entry at the airport. They are planning to come through an alternate route by road from Delhi. But that is also not confirmed because there is heavy deployment of Police at Noida and also at Delhi-UP border. They [state government] are not allowing people who might be joining the farmers protest,” said Pathak.