Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/Lakhimpur Kheri, October 8
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal Member of Parliament Harsimrat Kaur visited victims of Sunday’s violence at Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri on Friday.
Sidhu vowed to fast-unto-death and took a pledge of silence until Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is arrested. Sidhu, who made the announcement when he was at the house of a journalist, Raman Kashyap, who was among eight people killed in the violence.
Sharing the photos of his meeting with one of the families on Twitter, Sidhu said, “Justice Delayed-Justice Denied.”
Sidhu consoled the family members of Lovepreet Singh, one of the four farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on Sunday. Later, he said, “What has happened is a barbaric crime. Entire India is asking for justice. Loss of human lives can never be compensated.” He added that Lovepreet Singh’s father said he wants justice.
“There is evidence, video…witness account is there. But arrest is not being made because he (Ashish Kumar Mishra) is a Union minister’s son,” the Congress leader said.
Badal also separately met the 28-year-old Kashyap’s family.
Ashish Mishra has been booked for the violence and has been summoned for questioning by Uttar Pradesh Police.
Police have called him for questioning on Saturday because he skipped their last summons
Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, Minister of State for Home Affairs, maintains his son is innocent and claims it’s a conspiracy. He has so far ignored calls for resignation from the union council of ministers over the incident.
Leading a delegation of SAD leaders, former Union minister Badal demanded Mishra’s immediate dismissal, besides the arrest of his son Ashish, a statement issued by the party said.
Badal visited the residences of the four farmers killed in Lakhimpur Kheri along with senior SAD leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Bikram Singh Majithia, Manpreet Singh Ayali, besides Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Jagir Kaur.
Four of the eight people who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence were farmers who were allegedly knocked down by vehicles carrying BJP workers. Angry farmers then allegedly lynched two workers of the saffron party and their driver.
The farmers claimed that Ashish Mishra was in one of the vehicles, an allegation denied by him and his father.
Badal said it was condemnable that no action was taken in the heinous case either by the Centre or the Uttar Pradesh government despite clear-cut evidence.
“The video footage of Ashish Misra’s vehicle is available. There are eyewitness accounts that Ashish Misra fled the scene…he should be arrested on murder charges immediately,” she was quoted as saying in the SAD statement.
Badal also pointed out that there is video footage of the Union minister allegedly threatening farmers and inciting violence against them.
“It is wrong to keep him in the Union cabinet and the Centre should take immediate action against him,” she added.
The SAD delegation visited Lovepreet Singh’s residence at Chaukhra village, Nachhattar Singh’s house at Namdar Purve, Daljeet Singh’s residence at Vanjaran Tanda, Gurwinder Singh’s house at Mohrnia and journalist Raman Kashyap’s residence at Nighasan village, according to the party statement.
Kaur handed over a cheque for Rs 5 lakh to each of the families of the victims, besides assuring them that the SGPC would look after the educational needs of the next of kin of the victims.
There were emotional scenes at the residences of the victims’ families.
The bereaved family members said they could never imagine that anyone could mow down innocent farmers returning home after the conclusion of their peaceful protest, according to the SAD statement.
They also said the Uttar Pradesh government had still not initiated action in the case in earnest.
They said the perpetrators were locals and were identified but were not being arrested.
After meeting Lovepreet Singh’s family, Badal tweeted: “The sense of loss and pain they are experiencing is heart-wrenching. Sharing their grief, assured them support in every possible way. We are together in this fight.”
— With agencies