Sidhu starts fast in Lakhimpur Kheri, seeks arrest of Union minister's son

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 08-10-2021 21:50 IST | Created: 08-10-2021 21:47 IST
Sidhu starts fast in Lakhimpur Kheri, seeks arrest of Union minister's son
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Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday began a fast in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri, declaring that he will continue it till Union minister Ajay Mishra's son is not arrested. Sidhu on Friday met the kin of the farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, a day after he was detained along with Punjab Congress leaders in Saharanpur.

The minister's son, Ashish Mishra, is an accused in the case and was told by police to appear before it for questioning on Friday but he skipped it.

Sidhu, who met the family of 28-year-old journalist Raman Kashyap, one of the eight people killed in the violence, proceeded on a fast and could be seen lying on a cot at the scribe's house in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Sources said Sidhu is also observing a ''maun vrat'' (silent fast).

Punjab Cabinet Minister Vijay Inder Singla, who is among the Congress leaders from Punjab accompanying Sidhu, said they too will sit on a fast with him.

Sidhu had earlier demanded the arrest of the ministor's son, saying he would go on hunger strike if action is not taken against him by Friday.

Sources said Sidhu has said he will continue his fast until Ashish Mishra does not join investigation and is not brought to Kashyap's house by police after taking him into custody.

Meanwhile, in a tweet, Sidhu while tagging photos of his meeting with one of the families, said, ''Justice delayed-justice denied.'' During his meeting, Sidhu consoled family members of Lovepreet Singh.

Sidhu later said, ''What has happened is a barbaric crime. Entire India is asking for justice. Loss of human life can never be compensated.'' Lovepreet's father said he wants justice, said Sidhu.

''There is evidence, video evidence is there. There is name in the FIR, witness account is there. But the arrest is not being made because he (Ashish) is a Union minister's son,'' said Sidhu.

There cannot be two yardsticks for justice, he said.

While assuring the victim families of every possible help, Punjab minister Singla said justice must be ensured and they would keep putting pressure on the Centre to immediately sack Ajay Mishra and arrest his son.

Singla said farmers are the backbone of the country ''and their murder in broad daylight was heart wrenching and extremely distressing''.

Sidhu, who is accompanied by Punjab ministers and MLAs, was allowed to head towards Lakhimpur Kheri hours after they were detained at a police station in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, a delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Harsimrat Kaur Badal met the families of the farmers and the journalist.

Badal, a former Union minister, demanded immediate dismissal of Ajay Mishra besides the arrest of his son, a party statement said here.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal was accompanied by senior party leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Bikram Singh Majithia, Manpreet Singh Ayali and SGPC chief Jagir Kaur.

''The video footage of Ashish Mishra's vehicle is available. There are eye witness accounts that Ashish Mishra fled from the scene. He should be arrested on murder charges immediately,'' said Badal.

Similarly, there was a video footage of the Union minister allegedly threatening farmers and even inciting violence against them, she alleged.

''It is wrong to keep him in the Union cabinet and the central government should take immediate action against him,'' she added.

SGPC president Jagir Kaur handed over a cheque for Rs 5 lakh to each of the victim families besides assuring them that they will look after educational needs of next of the kin of the victims.

Four of the eight people who died on Sunday were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles carrying BJP workers. Angry farmers then allegedly lynched some people in the vehicles.

The other dead included two BJP workers and their driver.

Farmers claimed that Ashish Mishra was in one of the vehicles, an allegation denied by him and his father.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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