Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday visited Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district to meet the families of the four farmers who were killed in the district on October 3. The politicians promised to help the families get justice.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel were also part of the Congress delegation.
A total of eight people had died in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday during a protest against the Centre’s new agricultural laws. Since then the state administration had barred several Opposition leaders from visiting the families of the deceased farmers.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh government had said that Gandhi, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and three other party leaders had been given permission to visit the district.
However, before leaving for Lakhimpur Kheri, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the police was not allowing him to leave Lucknow airport despite the permission from the state government, ANI reported.
After finally leaving the airport, Gandhi met his sister Vadra, who had been in detention in a guest house in Sitapur district.
Meanwhile, during their visit to Uttar Pradesh, the chief ministers of Punjab and Chhattisgarh announced Rs 50-lakh compensation for the families of the deceased farmers and a journalist who was also killed during the violence, ANI reported.
Awanish Kumar Awasthi, the additional chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh’s home department, had said that leaders of all political parties will now be allowed to visit the district.
However, they will only be allowed in groups of five due to existing restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, PTI reported. The section prohibits gatherings of over five people.
Farmer bodies had alleged that three farmers died after a vehicle that was part of a convoy of Union minister Ajay Mishra had run over protestors agitating against the agriculture laws. They had claimed that the vehicle belonged to the minister’s son, Ashish Mishra.
A murder case has been filed against Ashish Mishra.
Police action against Opposition
On Tuesday, the police had filed a first information report against 11 people, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda and party’s state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.
Vadra was earlier barred from leaving Lucknow and placed under a house arrest. However, the Congress leader started walking from Lucknow and later got into her car. Videos showed her confronting police officers for attempting to take her into custody without a warrant.
The Congress leader had alleged that she was pushed and roughed up while being detained.
On Sunday, hundreds of farmers from the Terai region had gathered at Tikunia area of Lakhimpur Kheri district as Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya was scheduled to arrive there by helicopter to attend an event nearby.
The farmers had assembled to protest Maurya’s arrival since he is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Farmers told Scroll.in that the protestors came to an understanding with the district authorities later in the day that Maurya would not land there and instead come by road, taking an alternative route.
But the protestors alleged that as they were wrapping up their protest, three large SUVs came charging through the main road.
A video showing an SUV running over a group of protestors was also shared by the Congress and several social media users on Tuesday.
The police have not yet verified the authenticity of the video. Scroll.in could not verify the video independently. However, the locale that can be seen in the video looks similar to visuals that had emerged after Sunday’s incident.