After the arrest of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Akhilesh Yadav earlier today, at least 25 protesting leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party in the state capital Lucknow have been arrested by the police. Eight people including four farmers and three BJP workers have died in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders arrested in Lucknow. Pic: By arrangement
The Uttar Pradesh government today on October 4 launched an unprecedented crackdown against opposition leaders headed to the site of the Lakhimpur deaths, arresting or detaining Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Congress Party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party members Satish Chandra Mishra and Shivpal Singh Yadav.
“She [Priyanka Gandhi Vadra] 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.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted a video in which she 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.”
The Congress party leader went on to add: “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?”
The Indian National Congress has demanded immediate dismissal of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra and arrest of his son who has been named in FIR by UP Police.
Reportedly, the driver of the car carrying Union Minister Mishra’s son mowed down a group of farmers in Tikunia, Lakhimpur Kheri yesterday, October 3. However, the minister has denied the presence of his son at the incident. “My son was not present at the place of Lakhimpur Kheri incident; have video evidence,” he was quoted as saying.
The minister also said that stones were pelted on BJP workers’ car which overturned and two persons came under it and died. The minister claimed that BJP workers were lynched after this.
An FIR has been registered against the Union Minister’s son, Ahish Mishra, for allegedly running a car over protesting farmers at the clash site in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Yesterday’s violent clashes have turned into a political drama with several politicians trying to reach Lakhimpur Kheri. However, the Yogi government has launched an unprecedented crackdown against the opposition leaders.
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.
Yadav has demanded Rs 20 million ex gratia for the families of deceased farmers. “₹ 2 crore should be given to the farmers who have lost their lives. Their families should be given government jobs,” said the Samajwadi Party chief while protesting outside his home in Lucknow’s Vikramaditya Marg. He was later arrested by the UP Police.
Meanwhile, 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,” Vaibhav Prakash, state president, social media department, AAP, told Gaon Connection.
“Twenty five to thirty protesting leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party in Lucknow have been arrested by the police. Women Wing state president Neelem Yadav was also arrested,” he added.
Further, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Choudhary’s car was today seen breaking a police barricade and heading towards the clash site in Lakhimpur Kheri.
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.
The violence is the worst conflagration in the year-old face off between farmers and India’s government over the three contentious farm laws.
Meanwhile, in a statement released yesterday Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has termed the Lakhimpur incident “unfortunate”. The state government will go into depth and expose elements involved in the incident and will take strict action against them, said the press statement.
The state government has decided to give a government job and Rs 4.5 million to the families of every person who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. Union Minister Ajay Mishra, father of the accused, has demanded Rs 5 million ex gratia to families of each deceased BJP worker.