A new video of a jeep mowing down protesting farmers from behind in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday, October 3, has emerged on social media. The video, which went viral, shows a group of farmers, some holding black flags, walking peacefully on the road when a speeding Thar jeep ploughs into them from behind and driving on, even as a black SUV and a white SUV follow. The 46-second video appears to disprove claims by Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra and his son Ashish that the driver of the jeep lost control after farmers had pelted stones at the jeep.
Protesters have alleged that a car driven by Ashish Mishra ran over the farmers. According to reports, violence broke out following the incident, with the enraged mob attacking the convoy. While eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3, four of the dead were farmers who were knocked down by the vehicles. The four others included two BJP workers, the driver of the Thar jeep and Raman Kashyap, a freelance journalist. While the first three were allegedly lynched by farmers who were enraged after the incident, the scribe, according to his father, died after being hit by a vehicle when he was covering news of farmers' protest against the visit of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Ajay Mishra's native place.
The UP Police has lodged a case against Union minister Ajay Mishra's son, Ashish, but no arrest has been made. TNM cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka meet families of farmers
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday, October 6, met the family members of farmers killed in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri and promised them all assistance.They arrived in Lakhimpur after the Uttar Pradesh government allowed them to visit the violence-hit district. Talking to newspersons later in the night, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said all the three families she met want justice.
All the three families have said one thing that they are not concerned about compensation but want justice, she said when asked about the financial assistance announced for the victims' families. Pressing for the resignation of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra, she said, They (victims' families) will not get justice till the minister resigns as impartial inquiry is not possible as he is the minister of state for home.
When asked about the minister's son, who has been named in the FIR, she said, He should be arrested. They can arrest us without FIR or order Why are the criminals not being arrested, she asked. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi left for Lakhimpur together in a car from a police guest house in Sitapur where she was kept in detention since Monday morning.
Sitapur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Pyarelal Maurya said on Wednesday evening that Priyanka Gandhi has been released from detention.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel accompanied them in another car, while Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and Deepender Singh Hooda travelled in a separate vehicle.
Priyanka Gandhi is scheduled to meet the families of the remaining victims on Thursday.
The Congress leaders' visit came after Uttar Pradesh permitted politicians to travel to Lakhimpur Kheri but not more than five people at a time.
Earlier in the day, a high-voltage drama played out at the Lucknow airport where Rahul Gandhi staged a dharna briefly to protest the administration's decision to take him to Lakhimpur in a police vehicle instead of his own.
Later, the administration relented and the former AICC president reached Sitapur guest house in his own vehicle on his way to Lakhimpur Kheri.
At the PAC guest house, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and other party leaders stayed for nearly one hour before setting off for their journey to Lakhimpur.
With the Lakhimpur incident coming ahead of the election in Uttar Pradesh early next year, opposition parties smelled a chance to corner the BJP.
Before the high-level Congress team reached Lakhimpur, a delegation of Aam Aadmi Party landed at Dhaurahra tehsil, home of farmer Nachatar Singh.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also spoke to the family of Nachatar Singh over phone and expressed deepest condolences and assured all help to the bereaved family.
The AAP team later visited the home of scribe Raman Kashyap.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party general secretary S C Mishra have finalised their itinerary to Lakhimpur for Thursday.
SP sources said Akhilesh Yadav will first go to the home of farmer Nachatar Singh at around 1 pm followed by a visit to the house of Raman Kashyap and end with a trip to house of Lovepreet Singh in Palia tehsil.
The BSP general secretary will set out for Lakhimpur from his Lucknow house at around 10 am on Thursday to meet families of the victims of the violence, a party statement said.
Talking to the press at the airport, Rahul Gandhi said he or Priyanka being sent to jail was irrelevant as the main question was people being crushed by criminals , referring to the Lakhimpur Kheri episode.
Those who should have been in jail are not being put in jail. We are being stopped from meeting the aggrieved families of the farmers, he said.
He also hit out at the UP government after he was not allowed to exit the Chaudhari Charan Singh airport, where a group of CRPF personnel were seen preventing his movement out of the airport, despite permission being granted to visit Lakhimpur Kheri.
See this, is the permission! This is the permission of the UP government, Gandhi said, gesturing towards the security personnel who had formed a human-chain to prevent his movement.
Unable to move out of the airport, Gandhi along with Channi, Baghel and Deepender Singh Hooda, staged a sit-in inside the airport and said they would not end their 'dharna' until they are allowed to go to Lakhimpur.
Until they allow me to go, I will sit here. Farmers are being oppressed and looted, and the farmers understand this, he said, adding everybody knows for whom these laws have been made .
Priyanka Gandhi had been under detention since Monday morning.
(With PTI inputs)