Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has condemned the violence that broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, and expressed solidarity with the farmers who have been protesting against the farm laws. Nine people, including four farmers and a journalist, were killed in the violence, and on Tuesday, a video emerged showing a car running into a group of protesting farmers, knocking many of them over.
Taking to Twitter, CM Stalin sought a high-level inquiry into the deaths of the farmers and action against those responsible. He also condemned the arrest of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and said that the Union government must repeal the contentious farm laws. “The attack on the U.P farmers protesting against the farm laws is highly condemnable and I demand an impartial, high-level investigation into the death of farmers. Perpetrators of this cruel act must be punished legally,” Stalin tweeted.
“Opposition leaders including @priyankagandhi who tried to meet the farmers are detained. They shall be freed and allowed to exercise their democratic rights,” he added in another tweet.
“The Union Govt can no more remain apathetic to the concerns of the farmers and let these untoward incidents to continue. It must realise that repealing three farm laws in toto is the only way to restore normalcy and peace,” Stalin said.
Of the people who were killed, four of them were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to an event in the area. The other victims were BJP workers and their driver who were allegedly pulled out of the vehicles and lynched. Two cars were set on fire.
While the BJP has officially maintained a guarded silence over the matter, the Uttar Pradesh government assured a thorough probe into the incident. As opposition leaders headed to Tikonia village, about 225 km from Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh authorities clamped section 144 of the CrPC, which bans the assembly of more than four people in the district. Mobile internet services have been restricted.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his Punjab counterpart Charanjit Singh Channi, BSP's S C Mishra and AAP's Sanjay Singh were among those prevented by the state authorities from reaching Lakhimpur.
(With agency inputs)