Priyanka Gandhi Vadra meets the family members of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence | PTI
Bahraich (UP): Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who arrived here on Thursday to meet the families of two farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, said by allowing Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra to continue on the post, the Centre is giving the message that those in power can do anything.
The Union minister's son, Ashish Kumar Mishra, and others have been booked in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that erupted during a farmers' protest on Sunday.
"If the minister of state for home does not resign nor is he sacked, then it means that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving a message to the public that if someone is in power, if he is a minister, he can do anything," Gandhi told reporters in Moharnia, where she met the family members of Gurvinder Singh, one of the four farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
"The message that is coming out of it is that if someone is in power, is a minister or a BJP leader, he can do anything. There is no justice for the common people, the poor, farmers, Dalits and women. I want to tell Narendra Modiji that this is the message that he is giving to people," she said.
"Why is a minister who has a criminal record and whose son has been charged for a serious crime not dismissed so far?" Gandhi asked after meeting the family members of Daljit Singh in Banjaran Tada village.
Referring to the ban on opposition leaders from visiting the bereaved families earlier, she said "the farmers' families are the victims and your entire force is busy stopping opposition leaders and keeping the victims' families under vigil so that they cannot talk to anyone".
"We came here like thieves and the one who has committed the crime is giving interviews on television, his father has not resigned and is still our home minister. Yet you say that Uttar Pradesh is the number one state in the country when it come to law and order. Where is law and order?" she asked.
The Congress leader said on Wednesday, when she visited the family members of journalist Raman Kashyap, who was among the eight people killed in Sunday's violence, they told her that the post-mortem report is unreadable.
On her meetings with the bereaved families since Wednesday, when the Uttar Pradesh government released her from detention and allowed her to go to Lakhimpur and Bahraich, Gandhi said, "We have met the families of all the deceased farmers. Everyone says they are not bothered about the compensation, they are only concerned about the dismissal of the minister of state for home and the arrest of the criminals."
She also said the families of the victims have some video clips that show what transpired in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday. "The family members have said they want justice," she stressed.
Gandhi's convoy of vehicles was stopped by the district administration near the Ghaghra Ghat bridge as soon as it entered Bahraich from Barabanki as section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was in force and the Congress workers accompanying her raised slogans against the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh in protest.
The magistrate and the police officers present on the spot subsequently allowed only Congress leaders Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Tanuj Punia, who had come with Gandhi, to proceed along with her to meet the families of the deceased farmers.
The Congress general secretary, who has met the family members of five of the eight people killed in Sunday's violence, said she also wanted to meet the kin of the BJP workers who lost their lives.
"I had asked the IG to enquire if they (the BJP workers' families) were ready for the same but was outrightly told that they do not want to meet me. I asked for conveying my sympathy to them," she added.
On her way to Bahraich, Gandhi also performed a "puja" at a temple in the Arjunganj area of Lucknow. PTI