Political tension on Lakhimpur Kheri escalated on Tuesday with the Opposition leaders such as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Akhilesh Yadav still being detained by the Uttar Pradesh Police and the next of kin of three deceased farmers refusing to cremate their bodies until action was taken against, Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, is arrested and another postmortem is done in Bahraich.

An FIR has been filed against Ashish in connection with a vehicle mowing down protesting farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday resulting in the death of the farmers.

The Congress said the UP Police detained AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party’s Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda at a guest house in Sitapur for more than 40 hours and they are not allowed to meet anyone.

‘Meet farmers, Modi-ji’

In a video message, Priyanka Gandhi asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Lucknow, to meet the family members of the farmers who died in Lakhimpur Kheri. “Modi-ji, you are coming to Lucknow to celebrate the Amrit Mahotsav of independence, but have you seen this video. This video shows how the son of a minister in your government has mowed down farmers. Please see this video and tell the country why this minister has not yet been dismissed and this boy not yet arrested,” she charged in the message.

Later she claimed in a statement that she is in custody under section 153 of the IPC. She said she was not given any information regarding the circumstances for the arrest. “I have not been produced in front of a magistrate or any other judicial officer either. I have also not been allowed to meet my legal counsel who has been standing at the gate since morning,” she said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel held a protest sit-in at Lucknow airport after he was not allowed to go out of the airport. In a video, he was heard telling cops that he is not travelling to Lakhimpur Kheri. Later, he held a virtual press conference and alleged that the BJP government is suppressing the voice of Opposition.

Former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said, “Whether it is the government at the Centre or in Uttar Pradesh, they are not sensitive at all. The kind of situation that was created in Jallianwala Bagh, we are witnessing in Uttar Pradesh. Today or tomorrow, they will have to pay a heavy price for it. I just want to tell them (the BJP Governments) that they would not succeed in suppressing the farmers’ voice. Farmers from the entire country are united and will fight against this misuse of power by those sitting in government,” he added.

‘Protesting for livelihood’

CPI general secretary D Raja told reporters that every attempt by Yogi Adityanath Government and the BJP to paint the incident as instigated by the Left will be resisted. “It is blatant lie. We condemn such statements from the RSS and the BJP. People are protesting to retain their livelihood. Yogi Adityanath Government is trying to portray such struggles for livelihood as communal. The BJP will not succeed in it,” he said.