Lakhimpur Kheri Violence: Governor of India's Uttar Pradesh State Orders Probe Days After 8 Deaths
12:27 GMT 07.10.2021 (Updated: 10:39 GMT 19.07.2022)
As many as eight people were killed on 3 October in Lakhimpur Kheri District in India's Uttar Pradesh state after a protest by farmers, demanding the repeal of last year's three farm liberalisation laws, turned bloody. The farmers have alleged that vehicles owned by a federal minister ran over them deliberately and without any provocation.
The Governor of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has created a single-member Commission to investigate the Lakhimpur Kheri District deaths, which will deliver a report in two months time.
Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, will conduct the probe into the incident that saw an SUV, confirmed to belong to the family of federal Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, mowing down peacefully protesting farmers on 3 October.
The Opposition parties, including Congress and Samajwadi Party, have demanded that instead of a retired judge heading the probe, it should be conducted by a sitting judge.
BJP Parliamentarian Slams Own Party's Government
On Thursday morning, BJP Parliamentarian Varun Gandhi posted a video believed to be of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and demanded "accountability for the blood of innocent farmers".
The 37-second video, a clearer and longer version of the previous footage of the incident, shows a speeding jeep running over flag-waving pedestrians in the middle of the road. Two SUVs are seen following the jeep; several people are then found lying in a pool of blood on the road later.
Supreme Court Takes Cognisance of Lakhimpur Kheri violence
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file a status report by 8 October on whether all the accused named in the police report have been arrested in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
On Wednesday, India's apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of the violence and deaths in Lakhimpur Kheri and said that a three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, will hear the case.
The Chief Justice will be accompanied by Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli on the Bench.
The top court's intervention is significant as it rarely takes up issues on its own motion unless they are of such seriousness that ignoring them would affect the public interest and basic rights.
Politicians Make A Bee Line to Meet Victims' Families
Amid much drama, that saw an uproar over the state government's decision to bar the entry of politicians into the state after the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, top Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met the victim's families on Wednesday.
Both the leaders demanded the resignation of federal Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra, who has admitted that the car that mowed down the farmers is registered with his family.
"The Minister must be removed to ensure an unbiased probe into the incident," said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress general secretary.
Politicians from several parties are now visiting the houses of the farmers who died in the gruesome incident.
Akhilesh Yadav, the former Uttar Pradesh State Chief and now the main opposition leader, was set to meet the family on Thursday, even as Congress leaders -- Punjab State Chief Charanjit Singh Channi, and Chhattisgarh State Chief Bhupesh Baghel also met the families.
A delegation of leaders from Punjab, led by Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, is scheduled to meet the affected families even as prominent Muslim leader and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi visits Lakhimpur Kheri to offer his condolences to the bereaved families.