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Lakhimpur Kheri killings: GoI officials urged to talk about farmer deaths

As silence regarding Lakhimpur Kheri continued from the Centre, students and Opposition leaders urged government officials to voice their opinions

Sabrangindia 14 Oct 2021

lakhimpur kheri
Image: PTI
 

Dismiss Minister of State (MoS) Ajay Mishra and direct a judicial investigation into the Lakhimpur Kheri killings, appealed the Indian National Congress to President Ram Nath Kovind on October 13, 2021.

While the main accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of October 3 – where four farmers and a local journalist were mowed down by a vehicle – Ashish Mishra was arrested nearly a week after the attack, his father continues to enjoy his post as a MoS in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Farmer leaders have called for his dismissal and arrest, stating that he is guilty of inciting the violence.

Therefore, various Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge and MP A. K. Antony, among others, wrote a joint letter to the “custodian of the constitution” describing the case as a matter of public interest.

“We call upon you as the custodian of our Constitution and the moral compass to this Government to immediately dismiss Mishra and direct an independent judicial investigation by a Commission comprising two sitting judges of the Supreme Court or High Court,” said the letter.

Signatories argued that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, make appeasing statements for Mishra’s benefit. This despite the fact that his role in the incident is also yet to be investigated and the same is unlikely while he continues to hold his post. Further, they pointed out that Mishra is also accused of murder in a three year and seven month old case. While a district court had acquitted him at the time, a criminal appeal against his acquittal has been pending in Allahabad High Court since 2004.

“What is even more shocking and unbelievable is that the High Court had reserved judgment in the Criminal Appeal on March 12, 2018 but hasn't delivered the verdict till date. Justice has been delayed to the point where it has effectively been denied,” said Congress.

Meanwhile, farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) condemned Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s attempt to defend Mishra with “whataboutery.” On October 12, Sitharaman attended an event at Harvard Kennedy School. During the event, one of the audience members asked why the Centre had a defensive reaction when questioned about incidents like Lakhimpur Kheri.

To this, she replied, “It’s nice of you to have picked up that one incident which is absolutely condemnable, every one of us say that. Equally, there are instances happening elsewhere, is my concern. India has issues of such nature happening in very many different parts of the country,” and urged people to urge all these issues equally.

While the SKM acknowledged that Sitharaman is the first Union Cabinet Minister who has said anything about issues, and called it “condemnable,” it questioned how the killings could be compared to any other incident.

“With the BJP and senior ministers defending Mishra this way, the hope for justice only got dimmer. In Lakhimpur Kheri, many others who were clearly part of the massacre are still missing and the state police is not nabbing them,” said leaders in a joint press release.

Stating that government data also supports all of farmers’ demands, the SKM will continue the struggle until their demands for the repeal of the “anti-people” laws are repealed, MSP becomes a legal guarantee and Lakhimpur Kheri accused face a fair trial.

Related:

Lakhimpur Kheri deaths: India honours martyrs

Delhi: Students and women demand ACP Pragya’s suspension!

Lakhimpur Kheri farmer deaths: SKM announces a slew of protests from Oct 12

Lakhimpur Kheri: How does a journalist’s death not make it to the headlines?

Lakhimpur Kheri killings: GoI officials urged to talk about farmer deaths

As silence regarding Lakhimpur Kheri continued from the Centre, students and Opposition leaders urged government officials to voice their opinions

lakhimpur kheri
Image: PTI
 

Dismiss Minister of State (MoS) Ajay Mishra and direct a judicial investigation into the Lakhimpur Kheri killings, appealed the Indian National Congress to President Ram Nath Kovind on October 13, 2021.

While the main accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of October 3 – where four farmers and a local journalist were mowed down by a vehicle – Ashish Mishra was arrested nearly a week after the attack, his father continues to enjoy his post as a MoS in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Farmer leaders have called for his dismissal and arrest, stating that he is guilty of inciting the violence.

Therefore, various Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge and MP A. K. Antony, among others, wrote a joint letter to the “custodian of the constitution” describing the case as a matter of public interest.

“We call upon you as the custodian of our Constitution and the moral compass to this Government to immediately dismiss Mishra and direct an independent judicial investigation by a Commission comprising two sitting judges of the Supreme Court or High Court,” said the letter.

Signatories argued that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, make appeasing statements for Mishra’s benefit. This despite the fact that his role in the incident is also yet to be investigated and the same is unlikely while he continues to hold his post. Further, they pointed out that Mishra is also accused of murder in a three year and seven month old case. While a district court had acquitted him at the time, a criminal appeal against his acquittal has been pending in Allahabad High Court since 2004.

“What is even more shocking and unbelievable is that the High Court had reserved judgment in the Criminal Appeal on March 12, 2018 but hasn't delivered the verdict till date. Justice has been delayed to the point where it has effectively been denied,” said Congress.

Meanwhile, farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) condemned Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s attempt to defend Mishra with “whataboutery.” On October 12, Sitharaman attended an event at Harvard Kennedy School. During the event, one of the audience members asked why the Centre had a defensive reaction when questioned about incidents like Lakhimpur Kheri.

To this, she replied, “It’s nice of you to have picked up that one incident which is absolutely condemnable, every one of us say that. Equally, there are instances happening elsewhere, is my concern. India has issues of such nature happening in very many different parts of the country,” and urged people to urge all these issues equally.

While the SKM acknowledged that Sitharaman is the first Union Cabinet Minister who has said anything about issues, and called it “condemnable,” it questioned how the killings could be compared to any other incident.

“With the BJP and senior ministers defending Mishra this way, the hope for justice only got dimmer. In Lakhimpur Kheri, many others who were clearly part of the massacre are still missing and the state police is not nabbing them,” said leaders in a joint press release.

Stating that government data also supports all of farmers’ demands, the SKM will continue the struggle until their demands for the repeal of the “anti-people” laws are repealed, MSP becomes a legal guarantee and Lakhimpur Kheri accused face a fair trial.

Related:

Lakhimpur Kheri deaths: India honours martyrs

Delhi: Students and women demand ACP Pragya’s suspension!

Lakhimpur Kheri farmer deaths: SKM announces a slew of protests from Oct 12

Lakhimpur Kheri: How does a journalist’s death not make it to the headlines?

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