Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to not share a stage with Union Minister Ajay Mishra, whose son has been arrested in connection with the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Gandhi also demanded that Ajay Mishra should be removed from the Union Cabinet.
The prime minister is in Uttar Pradeh’s Lucknow city to attend a conference of the director generals of police. Ajay Mishra is also expected to attend the event.
“If you continue to share the dais with the accused person’s father [Ajay Mishra] you will be sending a clear message that you are protecting the killers [of farmers],” the letter read. “If you share the stage with him, it will be an insult to over 700 farmers who died during the anti-farm laws protest.”
In her letter, Gandhi said that family members of the farmers who were killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence were in “’intolerable pain” and are still awaiting justice.
On October 3, eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the violence that broke out during a protest against Centre three farm laws in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle belonging to Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, had run over protestors. Ashish Mishra was arrested on October 9, a day after the Supreme Court had pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government on the matter.
“On Friday while addressing the nation, you said that you have clear intentions towards farmers,” Gandhi wrote on Sunday. “If these are true, then giving justice to the victims of Lakhimpur Kheri should be your main responsibility.”
The Lakhimpur Kheri violence case has been taken up by the Supreme Court for hearing. The judges have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the investigation.
At the last hearing on November 8, the Supreme Court had criticised the government for not providing enough details in its status report on the police investigation. Justice Surya Kant, who was part of the bench hearing the case, had said that the court was inclined to appoint a former judge of a different High Court to monitor the case.