This Article is From Oct 06, 2021

Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi Cleared To Visit Site Of Farmers' Deaths In UP

Lakhimpur-Kheri Violence: Hours earlier Mr Gandhi addressed a press conference in Delhi, condemning the "systematic attack on farmers" and pointing out "there used to be democracy in India"

Lakhimpur Violence: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has alleged a "systematic attack on farmers"


Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and three others will be allowed to visit Lakhimpur Kheri - where eight people died Sunday in violence after a convoy of cars mowed down a peaceful protest by farmers - the Uttar Pradesh government said this afternoon.

UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told news agency PTI all parties (five people per party) could visit, including a delegation from the Aam Aadmi Party - led by MLA Raghav Chadha - that was detained yesterday evening around 15 km from Lakhimpur Kheri.

However, minutes after Mr Gandhi's Delhi-Lucknow flight landed, fresh controversy erupted with UP Police refusing to allow the Lok Sabha MP to leave in his own transport. They insisted he leave in a police car - citing his "security" - and, when he refused to do so, surrounded him.

The UP government and police had blocked Mr Gandhi, Ms Gandhi Vadra and others from travelling to Lakhimpur Kheri to visit the families of the four farmers run over by vehicles, one of which was allegedly driven by Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son, Ashish Mishra.

Ms Gandhi Vadra was arrested Monday - the Congress and she claimed "illegal detention" by the state government - and Mr Gandhi was denied permission to visit Lakhimpur Kheri soon after.

Earlier today Mr Gandhi addressed a press conference in Delhi and condemned what he called "a systematic attack on farmers" and pointing out "there used to be democracy in India..."

"There used to be democracy (now) there is dictatorship in India. Politicians cannot go to Uttar Pradesh. We are being told since yesterday that we cannot go to Uttar Pradesh," he had said.

Mr Gandhi said he would not be deterred by the lack of permission.

Hours later. party sources said Mr Gandhi. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his Punjab counterpart Charanjit Channi were briefly stopped from boarding their Delhi-Lucknow flight.


Rahul Gandhi at Lucknow airport on his arrival from Delhi

Mr Gandhi's flight eventually landed at Lucknow airport at around 1.45 pm.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been in "illegal detention" since Monday, and has said she has not been served a legal notice to explain her arrest.

"I have also not been allowed to meet my legal counsel..." she said. Her husband, businessman Robert Vadra, wrote he too had been stopped from visiting UP to "check on my wife..."

This morning Ms Gandhi Vadra posted a Hindi tweet slamming the UP government.

"Those who oppress farmers are roaming freely... voices of justice for farmers are being imprisoned by the BJP government but we will not let the voice of justice be suppressed," she said.

UP police had said the case against Ms Gandhi Vadra, and 10 others, relates to preventive detention due to apprehension of breach of peace; prohibitory orders have been in place since the violence.

However, Ms Gandhi Vadra said her group was small and that eight of those named were not present.

Eight people, including four farmers, died Sunday as violence erupted during a farmers' protest in Lakhimpur Kheri ahead of a visit by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.


Eight people were killed after Sunday's violence in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri

The other four were people in the cars; they were part of a convoy of BJP workers who had come to welcome Mr Maurya and were attacked after allegedly running over the protesting farmers.

One of the cars in the convoy was allegedly driven by Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son. Mr Mishra told NDTV that while the car was his, neither he nor his son were at the scene of the clashes.

UP police have filed a murder case against Ashish Mishra but have not arrested him so far.

Mr Mishra, who is the junior Home Minister, met senior minister Amit Shah, today.

With input from PTI