The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Thursday suspended its core committee member Yogendra Yadav from all its activities for one month for visiting the family of a Bharatiya Janata Party worker, who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on October 3, reported The Hindu.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha is an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions that is spearheading the protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws.

Eight people, including four farmers and two BJP workers, were killed during a protest against the farm laws in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on October 3.

Yadav had met the family members of Shubham Mishra, one of the BJP workers, after meeting the kin of farmers who had died on October 3. He was also among a few leaders associated with the farmers protest who had extended their condolences to the families of the BJP workers killed in the violence, reported India Today.

On Thursday, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh leader Abhimanyu Kohar said that farmers had expressed concern about Yadav’s meeting, and therefore the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has taken action. Kohar had attended the farmers’ body meeting in which the decision related to Yadav’s suspension was taken.

All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah said that Yadav should not have visited the home of the BJP worker. “Any death is painful, but I have no sympathy for the killers,” he told The Hindu.

Yadav said that he was asked to admit that the visit was a mistake but he had refused to do so.

“I said that for me, it is a matter of principle and policy,” he told the newspaper. “As a principle, you cannot be partisan about grief. I do not for one minute absolve the BJP of what they did, but that does not mean that you do not share grief.”

The Swaraj India chief said that he had a mistake by not informing or consulting with the farmers about the visit. Yadav, however, maintained that he did not act as a representative of the farmers’ body.

“The general body’s response was that I had done something inexcusable, the ultimate crime,” Yadav told The Hindu. He added that he accepted the decision to suspend him, but asserted that he could not change his principles and policies.

Yadav said he would continue to support the farmers’ movement, adding that setting a high ethical and moral standard would strengthen the farmers’ movement instead of weakening it.

Lakhimpur Kheri violence

Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle that was a part of Union minister Ajay Mishra’s convoy had run over protestors, who were holding demonstrations against the farm laws. They claimed that the vehicle belonged to Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, who has been arrested along with others.

Ashish Mishra has been booked on multiple charges, including murder and criminal conspiracy, in connection with the violence.

On October 18, the police had arrested four more persons, including a BJP worker, in connection with the violence. This took the total number of arrests to 10.

The Supreme Court had on October 7 asked the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a status report on the first information reports filed in the case, along with the details of the accused persons and the arrests made in the matter.

The next day, the Supreme Court had said that it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government in the investigation of the violence. Ashish Mishra had not been arrested then.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had said that the Uttar Pradesh government appeared to be “dragging its feet” in the investigation into the violence.