The BJP's Varun Gandhi -- dropped from the party's national executive earlier this week – today targeted junior home minister Ajay Mishra's comment that Khalistanis have engineered the events at Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. Without naming the minister, Mr Gandhi, said this was an attempt to give communal colour to the event, which he had earlier labelled as "murder" and demanded accountability.
Mr Mishra's son Ashish Mishra was arrested last night over allegations that he had run over four farmers at a protest meeting last Sunday, after nationwide outrage and sharp remarks from the Supreme Court. He was accused of murder and named in the FIR six days ago.
Earlier today, Mr Gandhi tweeted:
An attempt to turn #LakhimpurKheri into a Hindu vs Sikh battle is being made. Not only is this an immoral & false narrative, it is dangerous to create these fault-lines & reopen wounds that have taken a generation to heal.We must not put petty political gains above national unity— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) October 10, 2021
Later, he told reporters that the "struggle for justice in Lakhimpur is about the cruel massacre of poor farmers in the face of an arrogant local power elite, it has no religious connotations".
"To use the word Khalistani liberally to describe the protesting farmers is not only an insult to the generations of these proud sons of the Terai that have fought and shed blood on our borders, it is also extremely dangerous for our national unity if this provokes the wrong kind of reaction," he added.
Varun Gandhi has been consistently speaking in support of farmers during their ongoing stir against the Centre's new farm laws.
After last Sunday's horrific events in which four farmers died and another four lives were lost in the subsequent violence, he became the only BJP leader to flag the issue.
On Tuesday, he tweeted a rather grainy video of a black SUV ploughing through a group of peaceful protesters from behind, tagging it "murder" and saying the video was enough to "shake the soul".
He has written to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, asking for a CBI probe and Rs 1 crore compensation for the families of the dead farmers.
"Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer," he said in another tweet.
Dropped from the BJP national executive on Thursday, the 41-year-old commented he had not attended a single meeting of the national executive in five years.
Ashish Misra was arrested five days after he was named in a murder case. The police action came amid questions about the minister's son being given VIP treatment and pointed criticism from the Supreme Court, which said the law must take its course against "whoever is involved".