Death toll at 8; Priyanka, Tikait reach violence-hit Lakhimpur Kheri

Mobile internet services have been suspended in parts of the violence-hit district and section 144 was imposed

The UP police took to Twitter early Monday to describe the incident as unfortunate and said eight casualties had been reported so far as per the district administration.

An eerie calm prevailed in the Lakhimpur Kheri area in Uttar Pradesh where eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence that erupted during a protest on Sunday.

The farmers had assembled to prevent the landing of a helicopter carrying UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya and Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra. Farmers alleged that they were dispersing after the gherao when some cars in the official convoy mowed down protestors. Sources said four farmers, three BJP workers present in the place, and a car driver were among the dead.

Visuals from the place showed vehicles set on fire even as UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the incident ‘unfortunate.’ He said an inquiry would be conducted and action taken against those found guilty.

Also read: Understanding the new farm laws and farmer protests in India

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Meanwhile Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait reached Lakhimpur border early Monday. Priyanka Gandhi  alleged that she and party leaders were not allowed to meet the victims of the violence.

“We will first meet the farmers and villagers and discuss the situation with them. The future course of action will be decided on the basis of the discussion with the villagers and farmers. Their decision will prevail,” Tikait told reporters at Banbirpur village. Asked about certain comments by Ajay Mishra, in purported videos that surfaced on social media, Tikait sought his arrest and said the atmosphere in the region was being vitiated over the past 10 days.

Priyanka Gandhi, who is accompanied by party leader Deepender Singh Hooda, among others, had to take alternative routes to reach the bordering Hargaon area in Saitapur as heavy security was deployed on the main roads amid tension in the violence-hit region of Lakhimpur.

“We are waiting outside Lakhimpur Kheri. We have been prevented by the police from entering. We have come here to meet the victims of the violence,” Congress national secretary Dheeraj Gurjar said.

Priyanka Gandhi’s convoy was earlier briefly stopped by the Uttar Pradesh police in Lucknow, where the Congress general secretary had arrived on Sunday night within a few hours of violence being reported.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services were suspended in parts of the violence-hit district, where restrictions under CrPC section 144 – which prohibits assembly of four or more people – has also been imposed.

The UP police took to Twitter early Monday to describe the incident as unfortunate and said eight casualties had been reported so far as per the district administration.

The Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order); the Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture; the Inspector-General of Police; are at the spot and the situation is under control, it said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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