- On killing of BJP workers, Rakesh Tikait said he would not call it wrong
- He demanded the immediate arrest of culprits of “Lakhimpur massacre”
- He also gave UP government a week’s notice to arrest Ashish Mishra
The killing of two BJP workers in Lakhimpur Kheri – after four farmers were run over by a convoy that included a SUV owned by Union Minister Ajay Mishra – is a “reaction to an action”, and “hum galat nahi mante hain (would not call it wrong)”, leader Rakesh Tikait said Saturday.
“The killing of two BJP workers in Lakhimpur Kheri after a convoy of cars ran over four farmers is a reaction to an action. I do not consider those involved in the killings as guilty (of a crime),” Tikait told reporters at a press conference – attended by other farmer union leaders – in Delhi.
Tikait’s shocking and incendiary comment came as the farmers laid out plans for what they stressed would be a series of peaceful protests against the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
On Thursday Tikait demanded the “immediate arrest (of the) culprits of the Lakhimpur massacre“.
This was a day after he described those who ran over farmers as “cold-hearted people”, tweeting, “Those who crushed people to death cannot be men… they are ‘cold-hearted’ people.”
Tikait gave the UP government a week’s notice to arrest Ashish Mishra, who is Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son and has been named as a murder accused in the FIR in the Lakhimpur Kheri case.
He skipped a first summons yesterday citing ill-health.
The fact he has been called under Section 160 of the CrPC (as a witness) rather than under Section 41 (as an accused or suspect) has raised eyebrows, particularly after the Supreme Court yesterday questioned authorities over their handling of the case.
Farmer unions have said they will march on Lakhimpur on Tuesday, and planned to hold a ‘rail roko’ on October 18 and a mahapanchayat in Lucknow on October 26.
They have also demanded Ajay Mishra’s sacking and the arrest of Ashish Mishra.
Eight people, including four farmers, died Sunday after a SUV owned by Ajay Mishra rammed into a group of farmers holding a peaceful protest at Lakhimpur Kheri.
The farmers have alleged Ashish Mishra was in the SUV.
Both Ashish and his father have denied all charges. Mr Mishra admitted to NDTV that the car belonged to his family but said neither he nor his son were in it when the incident took place.