Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking why is he is not going to Lakhimpur Kheri which is just a 15-minute helicopter ride from Lucknow. PM Modi is in Lucknow to inaugurate 'Azadi@75 - New Urban India: Transforming Urban Landscape' Conference-cum-Expo.
"I would like to remind the Prime Minister that the freedom he is here to celebrate was given to us by the very farmers whose descendants have been protesting for months on end. It is these very farmer's sons who stand at the borders of our nation protecting our freedom even today. As he sits on stage with his retinue of ministers I want to ask him why one of them, the father of the accused has not been sacked yet?", she said
"Why is UP's entire police force focussing on putting opposition leaders under arrest, placing the families of the murdered farmers under watch, cutting of the internet and sealing the district of Lakhimpur Kheri?," she added.
Priyanka said that this is an extreme situation that has arisen due to the consistent oppression that has been going on. "So when anybody in Uttar Pradesh tries to protest, whether it is the students or teachers, they are beaten, oppressed and sent to jail," she said.
Priyanka was detained on Monday in Sitapur while on her way to Lakhimpur where eight people were killed in violence on Sunday. Four of the dead were farmers allegedly knocked down by vehicles allegedly driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. The others included BJP workers and their driver were pulled out of the vehicles and then lynched by the protesters.
The state government on Monday lodged a case against Union minister Ajay Mishra's son and promised a probe by a retired high court judge.
Priyanka said that Lakhimpur Kheri is a part of a bigger picture of what is happening in the state and the nation because "it is not an isolated incident in the sense that the government's reaction to protests, to people raising their voices has consistently been that of violence and oppression".
"There are violent reactions towards people who raise their voices either in protest or simply to demand their rights," she said.
"The farmers are still demanding the resignation of the minister and arrest of the accused," the Congress leader added.