Congress seeks dismissal of MoS Ajay Mishra, arrest of his son for Lakhimpur violence
New Delhi: The Congress on Monday demanded the immediate dismissal of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra and the arrest of his son who has been named in an FIR by the Uttar Pradesh Police after the death of eight people, including four farmers in violent clashes in Lakhimpur Kheri.
The party also demanded enhanced compensation of Rs one crore for each of the farmers killed and sought immediate release of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who the leaders alleged has been illegally detained by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
The Congress said it would hold protests outside the offices of all district magistrates across the country on Tuesday to protest against the incident. The Congress leaders protested outside UP Bhawan in the national capital and staged agitations elsewhere in the nation.
“We demand that Union minister Ajay Mishra should be immediately dismissed from his post and his son arrested forthwith. We also demand that the minister should be booked for the same offence as his son as he is trying to protect him,” Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel told reporters.
“The compensation amount should be Rs one crore to each of the farmers killed in the violence. The Union minister should be dismissed first, the manner in which he is out to protect his son. He should also be booked and the same cases should be registered against the minister as those on his son,” he said.
Priyanka Gandhi, who tried to reach Lakhimpur late last night, was detained in Sitapur around 5 am. Videos of her furiously lashing out at police personnel for misbehaving with her and her colleagues were also doing the rounds.
“The BJP government is doing the politics of crushing the farmers and finishing them,” she said on Twitter.
Saying that farmers will win this fight for justice, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi added in a tweet in Hindi, “Priyanka, I know that you will not retreat. They fear your courage. We will ensure that the country’s ‘annadatas’ win this non-violent fight for justice.”
In a video message, Priyanka Gandhi alleged that this country belongs to the farmers and not to the BJP and she was committing no crime by visiting those affected by the violence.
Her husband, Robert Vadra, also questioned the UP authorities under which law was she being stopped as they neither had any warrant, nor document to stop her and said she would not relent till she met those affected.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala compared the BJP government to “General Dyer” who ordered firing upon peaceful protesters in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in 1919.
Addressing a press conference here, Baghel questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence after such a big incident and said he has not uttered a single word.
“We urge the prime minister to dismiss Union minister Mishra. It is shameful that a minister who threatens farmers is in the Modi government,” he said.
Baghel said the entire country is agitated over the Lakhimpur incident and alleged that “the BJP’s thought process and politics is inspired by the British”.
“Does one require a passport or visa to visit Uttar Pradesh? Have the rights of all residents being taken away in Uttar Pradesh,” Baghel asked after he and other leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi were stopped from visiting Lakhimpur.
He said farmers are not a political issue for them and it is a national issue.
Baghel, who has not been allowed to visit Uttar Pradesh by the state government, said, “This is the real face of the BJP that they want to crush the farmers and kill them. The BJP now stands fully exposed as they are anti-farmers.”
With no one allowed to visit Lakhimpur, “the BJP can go to any extent to loot farmers and take away their land,” he said.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said, “It is a shame that the prime minister and home minister, whom the minister directly reports to, have not uttered a word on this cold blooded murder.”
“The absolute silence from the ruling dispensation has made ‘jungle raj’ thrive in UP and other BJP-ruled states of the country,” Venugopal said.
Earlier addressing reporters, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said there should be a probe on how other people died in the violence and farmers should not be held responsible.
“The farmers are being suppressed, harassed, tortured and are being killed. They are not allowed to speak and their voice is being suppressed, which is very unfortunate in a democracy,” he alleged.
Eight people were killed on Sunday as violence erupted during a farmers’ protest, claiming the lives of both farmers and BJP workers ahead of a visit to Lakhimpur by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Four of the dead were people in cars, apparently a part of a convoy of BJP workers who had come to welcome the UP minister. They were allegedly thrashed to death. The four others were farmers, officials said.
Farmer leaders had claimed that the minister’s son Ashish Mishra was in one of the cars which, they alleged, knocked down some protesters who were opposing the deputy CM’s visit.
However, Ajay Mishra said he and his son were not present at the spot as alleged by some farmer leaders and he has photo and video evidence to prove it.