CALLING THE Lakhimpur Kheri incident reflective of the “kroor (cruel)” ideology of the BJP, the Opposition Sunday demanded the resignation of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Bhupesh Baghel, and RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary are on their way to Lakhimpur Kheri. Baghel, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, has been made senior observer for the coming UP elections by the Congress. Vadra said what had happened would strengthen the voice of farmers and their “satyagraha”.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was also heading to Lakhimpur Kheri, the Congress said. Expressing deep anguish, Channi said the “ghastly and inhuman act” must be condemned by all in strongest possible words, and urged his UP counterpart, Yogi Adityanath, to bring the culprits to the book so as to ensure justice to the victim families.
“The farmers were peacefully protesting against the farm laws. BJP sarkar ke griha rajya mantri ke putra duara gaadi se raundna, ghor amanveeya aur kroor kriti hai… Yahi haal raha to Uttar Pradesh mein Bhajpai na gaadi se chal payenge, na utar payenge (It’s utterly inhuman and cruel on the part of the son of the BJP’s Union Minister of State to mow them down… If this situation continues, then in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP will neither be able to get into a car nor get off one),” Akhilesh said, adding that a delegation led by the party state chief and other prominent leaders would visit Lakhimpur Kheri.
Jayant Chaudhary said the images coming from Lakhimpur Kheri were horrifying, adding in his tweet, “Virodh ko kuchalne ka kaala kritya jo kiya hai, saazish jab griha mantri rach rahe hain, phir kaun surakshit hai (The black deed of trampling opposition, if the conspiracy is being plotted by the Home Minister, then who is safe)?”
BSP chief Mayawati said farmers had been “allegedly trampled by car of son of Union Minister and murdered”, and urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The one who is silent even after seeing this inhuman massacre, he is already dead. But we will not let this sacrifice go in vain — Kisan Satyagraha Zindabad!”
Priyanka Gandhi asked if farmers had no right to live in a BJP-ruled country. “If they raise their voice, will you shoot them, trample under your car?… Kisan Satyagraha will be strengthened and the voice of the farmer will be louder.”
Congress general secretary Saif Ali Naqvi, who is from Lakhimpur Kheri, said Union minister Ajay Mishra had recently shown the protesting farmers a “thumbs down”, provoking them.
Another party leader, Gourav Vallabh, invoking a Jallianwala Bagh comparison, said Mishra had warned farmers to “sudhar jao (mend your ways)”, or he would “fix them in two minutes”.
He questioned the silence of the Union government and demanded that a probe be held by a sitting Supreme Court judge to determine who gave the orders to “trample” farmers.
Saying she was “pained”, Mamata Banerjee said a TMC delegation will visit the dead farmers’ families. TMC sources said the five leaders are Lok Sabha members Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Pratima Mondal, and Dola Sen, Sushmita Dev and Abir Ranjan Biswas of the Rajya Sabha.
Tejashwi Yadav called the incident “genocide”, and said this was the reality of ” New India”. “Rioters are in power and constitutional institutions are in fear.”
Kejriwal did not attack the BJP directly, saying: “It is violent and unjust to crush protesting farmers in Lakhimpur with a vehicle… I am with the farmer brothers in this hour of grief.”
In a statement, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who left for Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday, said the incident has “once again exposed the cruel and undemocratic face of the government”. “The people sitting in the government have revealed today to what extent they can stoop to suppress the farmers’ movement. But the government is forgetting that we did not bow down even to the Mughals and Firangis (referring to the British) for our rights. The government should not test the farmers’ patience any further. The farmer may die but is not going to get scared,” he said.
He urged the UP government to register a murder case against the “killers of farmers” and ensure their arrest. He also appealed to the farmers to maintain peace. “If the government does not come to its senses, not a single BJP leader will be allowed to leave his or her house,” he said.
—With ENS, Delhi & PTI