Priyanka arrested, opposition leaders under house arrest as toll in Lakhimpur Kheri reaches 9
Priyanka Gandhi's convoy was stopped in Lucknow and the police surrounded the Kaul House where she stays during her Lucknow visits
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi has been arrested from Hargaon in Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur district while she was on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri where violence had claimed eight lives on Sunday.
Other opposition leaders are also being stopped form proceeding towards Lakhimpur Kheri after Sunday's incident, where the death toll has gone up to nine.
Priyanka Gandhi's convoy was stopped in Lucknow and the police surrounded the Kaul House where she stays during her Lucknow visits.
However, Priyanka managed to hoodwink the cops and walked out of her residence form the side gate and after a short distance, she got into a waiting car and left for Lakhimpur Kheri with Congress leader Deependra Singh Hooda at the wheel.
As soon as Priyanka reached Hargaon in Sitapur district around 6.a.m on Monday, she was stopped. After a minor scuffle with women constable, Priyanka demanded to see her arrest warrant. The police personnel took her into custody and she was taken to the PAC office in the district.
Priyanka Gandhi said, "I am not committing a crime by stepping out of the house. I just want to meet the affected families and share their grief. What wrong am I committing? And if I have done something wrong, then you (UP Police) should have an order, a warrant. You (UP Police) are stopping me, my car, but for what reason?"
Congress leaders who were accompanying Priyanka created a ruckus and staged a dharna to protest against her arrest.
UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said that the arrest of Priyanka proved again that there was no democracy left in the political system.
"We are well within out rights to protest and we are not going to be cowed down by such repressive measures," he said.
The death toll in Sunday's violence has gone up to eight and the BJP claimed that the deceased included one driver and three BJP workers.
Demanding a judicial probe in the violence, BSP supremo Mayawati said her party's national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra was stopped in Lucknow to prevent him from reaching Lakhimpur.
"BSP's national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP S C Mishra was placed under house arrest late last night at his residence in Lucknow. It is continuing so that the party delegation under his leadership cannot reach Lakhimpur Kheri to get the correct report of the violence. This is very sad and deplorable," Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Due to the involvement of two BJP ministers in the Kheri case, a proper government investigation of this incident, justice to the victims and strict punishment to the guilty does not seem possible. Therefore, this incident in which eight people have been confirmed dead so far requires a judicial inquiry. This is the demand of the BSP," she said.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up outside the residence of Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, who had announced that he would visit Lakhimpur.
A large police force has been deployed on Vikramaditya Marg, and police trucks have been placed to block the entire road and restrict any possible movement.
Mobile internet services have been suspended in parts of the violence-hit Lakhimpur district, where restrictions under CrPC section 144 -- which prohibits assembly of four or more people -- has also been imposed, according to officials.
The UP Police took to Twitter early Monday to describe the incident as "unfortunate" and said eight casualties have been reported so far as per the district administration.
"ADG LO, ACS Agriculture, IG Range & Commissioner are on the spot & situation is under control. Adequate deployment has been done to prevent any untoward incident," it added.
Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Ravan's convoy was stopped near Khairabad in Sitapur. He has been detained at Sitapur police line.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh was stopped in Sitapur on his way to Lakhimpur Kheri on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. He was stopped during checking of vehicles in Laharpur area of the district.
In another major development, union minister of state for home, Ajay Mishra Teni, whose earlier statement apparently triggered off trouble on Sunday, said that his son Ashish Mishra Monu was not present at the site where the violence took place.
The farmers had alleged that Monu had mowed down farmers while driving his SUV.
The police have taken Ashish Mishra to a safe house to ensure his safety and security.
with agency inputs
Published: 04 Oct 2021, 8:22 AM