Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday accused the Uttar Pradesh government of shielding Union minister Ajay Mishra and his son who is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
A convoy of the junior home minister had allegedly rammed into a group of protestors staging a demonstration in Lakhimpur Kheri against the three farm laws on October 3. Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish Mishra, was reportedly in one of the cars. He also allegedly shot at the protestors.
Eight people, including four farmers, died in the violence. Ashish Mishra has been charged with multiple offences, including murder and criminal conspiracy, in connection with the case. He was arrested on Saturday.
At a rally in Varanasi on Sunday, Vadra pointed out that the police had not been strict with the accused person. “Have you ever seen that a man who has killed people is being invited by the police to come talk to them?” the Congress leader asked the audience.
Vadra also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not meeting the grieving families in Lakhimpur Kheri.
“The prime minister could come to Lucknow [on Tuesday] to attend the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ [an event to mark 75 years of India’s Independence] but he could not travel to Lakhimpur Kheri, which is two hours away, to hold the hands of farmers and wipe their tears,” the Congress leader said.
She added: “Who has given you the independence that you now celebrate? It is the farmers who have given us freedom. Farmers have watered our land. Their sons are at the country’s borders to protect us.”
Vadra and her brother, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, had on Wednesday met the families of the four farmers and a journalist who were killed in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Vadra and other Opposition leaders have also demanded Ajay Mishra’s resignation.
“He is saying his son is innocent, that he was not there [at the site of violence],” Vadra had said on Thursday. “Fine. So resign on moral grounds. Let the investigation happen. When the result comes and if your son has not committed the crime, become a minister again.”