The Aam Aadmi Party claimed that its MP Sanjay Singh and some other party leaders were arrested while trying to go to Lakhimpur Kheri on Tuesday to meet the families of the victims killed during a farmers’ protest recently. However, there was no statement on the issue by the authorities.
The AAP in a tweet claimed that Singh was arrested along with other leaders. “Sanjay Singh was in custody in Biswan for 43 hours,” the party claimed and added that its workers took out a demonstration in Sitapur’s Biswan demanding justice for the farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Singh tweeted saying that AAP leaders were not allowed to meet the victims’ families. “Leader of Opposition in Punjab Harpal Singh Cheema, party’s Punjab co-incharge Raghav Chadha and MLA Baljinder Kaur, Kultar Singh, Amarjit Sandhawa, UP president Sabhajit Singh have been arrested in Lakhimpur Police Lines,” Singh said on Twitter and also posted some pictures of the leaders staging the dharna on a road. Singh, joined by his party workers, was sitting on a ‘dharna’ in Biswan since the state police stopped him while he was en route to Lakhimpur Kheri in the early hours of Monday.
Earlier in the day, Singh had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Lakhimpur Kheri and meet the family members of the farmers there. In a letter, the AAP leader also urged the prime minister to take along with him leaders of all political parties.
“I would urge you with folded hands that in this great hour of grief and sorrow, you should change your intention of organising any festival and visit Lakhimpur Kheri with the leaders of all the parties to meet family members of the farmers who were brutally crushed under the car of your minister and murdered for no reason,” Singh said in his letter. “Sitting among those families, you should repent, apologise, sack your minister immediately, arrest the culprits and being the head of the council of ministers, take the responsibility for this incident… Not only UP but the whole country is also immersed in mourning and shock, how can you celebrate a festival,” he questioned Modi.
The remarks came at a time the prime minister was in Lucknow to inaugurate the ‘Azadi@75 – New Urban India: Transforming Urban Landscape’ conference-cum-expo and also to launch development projects. Eight people died and several others were injured on Sunday in the bloodiest clash since the farmers’ protest began last year over the Centre agri laws.
Four of the dead were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. There were two BJP workers, a local journalist and a Union minister’s driver, allegedly pulled out of the vehicles and then lynched by the protesters. Two cars were set on fire.