Lakhimpur Kheri incident | Opposition parties accuse Yogi Adityanath government of ‘throttling’ democracy

NEW DELHI, 04/10/2021: Activists of Indian Youth Congress protest against recently incident on farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, at U.P. Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday, October 4, 2021. Photo: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The Opposition parties on Monday closed ranks in accusing the Yogi Adityanath Government in Uttar Pradesh of ‘throttling democracy’ by preventing the Opposition leaders from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri in which eight people including four farmers were killed during a protest on Sunday.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Chandra Mishra and Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) Sanjay Singh were among those leaders who were not allowed to go to the trouble spot, citing the imposition of Section 144 under the Criminal Procedure Code that prohibit large gathering of people.

Chhattisgarh and Punjab Chief Ministers Bhupesh Baghel and Charanjit Singh Channi and the latter’s deputy Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa were also barred from landing at the Lucknow airport as the U.P. Government denied them the permission to visit the State.

The U.P. Government’s move prompted Mr. Baghel to ask, “Does one require a passport or visa to visit Uttar Pradesh? Have the rights of all residents been taken away in Uttar Pradesh?” He also asked why he was not allowed to land in Lucknow since Section 144 was imposed in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Also read: Is U.P. ‘naya Kashmir’, asks Omar Abdullah as leaders are prevented from entering Lakhimpur Kheri

The SP president was stopped just outside his Lucknow residence in the morning and Mr. Mishra was placed under house arrest late on Sunday night.

But it was the arrest of Ms. Vadra that witnessed dramatic scenes. The Congress general secretary in-charge for U.P., accompanied by her colleague and Rajya Sabha member Deepender Hooda, started for Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday night after arriving in Lucknow.

After being briefly stopped outside Lucknow, the Congress leaders reportedly took a different route to avoid heavy police deployment along the main route but were finally stopped at Sitapur, about an hour’s drive to violence-hit region of Tikonia in Lakhimpur Kheri district. Policemen were deployed at all entry points of the district to stop the entry of outsiders.

Ms. Vadra’s video of arguing with the police officials went viral as they took her to a government guest house after detaining her and Mr. Hooda.

“What happened [in Lakhimpur] shows that the government is trying crush and finish off the farmers. This country is not a fiefdom of those who believe in BJP’s ideology, it belongs to the farmers. Remember when you have to use force, then the government and the police have lost their moral authority. I am not going out of my house to commit a crime but only to wipe off the tears of the victims,” Ms. Vadra said in a video posted on twitter handle.

Talking Politics with Nistula Hebbar | Lakhimpur Kheri violence and its aftermath

In Lucknow, Mr. Yadav sat on a dharna along with party workers after being denied permission to travel. “… To suppress voices, vehicles are being run over by those who raise voices. We want the arrest of the Minister and his son in the Lakhimpur incident,” he told reporters.

BSP chief Mayawati too reiterated her party’s demand for a judicial inquiry and criticised the detention of Mr. Mishra.

“The BJP and Modi government have no business to not allow political parties to reach victims of the barbarism inflicted on farmers yesterday [Sunday]. Strongly condemn this draconian throttling of democracy,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted.

“The voice of the farmers of the country cannot be silenced now. Blood of the bread-winners of the country was spilled on the streets. This cannot go unanswered. The government will have to repeal the farm laws and bring the perpetrators of violence in Lakhimpur Kheri to book,” said CPI general secretary D. Raja.

Comparing the situation in U.P. with that of Jammu and Kashmir when Article 370 was diluted, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Uttar Pradesh is the ‘naya J&K’ [new J&K]”.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 2:26:47 AM |

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