A video, apparently of an SUV running over slogan-shouting farmers marching in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri, has surfaced on social media and has even been shared by Varun Gandhi, an MP of the ruling BJP. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the incident on Sunday.
The video, being shared widely on social media, is yet to be verified by the police. NDTV cannot independently verify its authenticity. It is also not clear from the visuals who is in the driving seat.
लखीमपुर खीरी में किसानों को गाड़ियों से जानबूझकर कुचलने का यह वीडियो किसी की भी आत्मा को झखझोर देगा।— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) October 5, 2021
पुलिस इस वीडियो का संज्ञान लेकर इन गाड़ियों के मालिकों, इनमें बैठे लोगों, और इस प्रकरण में संलिप्त अन्य व्यक्तियों को चिन्हित कर तत्काल गिरफ्तार करे।
Earlier today, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted the viral clip with a pointed question for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"@narendramodi Sir, your government has kept me in custody for the last 28 hours without any order and FIR. This person who crushed the annadata (farmers) has not been arrested yet. Why?" tweeted Priyanka Gandhi this morning.
In the 25-second video clip, the SUV rams protesters, who fall to the ground, while others scramble to get out of the way. Another vehicle, with sirens blaring, is seen tailing the SUV that hit the farmers.
The video matches descriptions given to NDTV on Sunday by farmers at the spot, who said the car suddenly hit them from behind. The make and colour of the lead SUV that hits the farmers also matches other visuals from the site.
The farmers have alleged that the protesters were run over by an SUV driven by Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish Mishra. Both the Minister and his son have denied even being at the spot.
The incident took place when a group of protesting farmers in Tikonia area of Kheri tried to block Mr Mishra and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya from visiting. The protesters were upset over a recent speech by Mr Mishra.
The farmers claimed the violence broke out after a car in the minister's convoy ran over protesters. Visuals from the area showed arson and vehicles set on fire.
A murder case has been filed against the Union minister's son.
Minister Ajay Mishra says he is not aware about any FIR against his son. He has also denied that his son was linked to the violence. "My son wasn't present at the spot. There were miscreants who attacked workers with sticks and swords. Had my son been there, he wouldn't have come out alive," Mr Mishra, the junior Home Minister, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. "My son was present at the venue of the (Deputy Chief Minister's) event... all through, I was accompanying the deputy chief minister," he said.
The government has promised to pay a compensation of Rs 45 lakh to the families of those who died. The injured will receive a compensation of Rs 10 lakh. A retired judge will investigate the matter, the state government has said.