NEW DELHI – Eight people were killed in an incident on Sunday in which protesting farmers blamed the son of a prominent Indian leader as nearly a year of protests against the government’s reform of the country’s agricultural law threatened to enter a more volatile phase.
Police said they were investigating the deaths of four farmers and four others in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Protesters said a vehicle fell on protesters as part of a convoy passing by the scene.
Police said that they were investigating Ashish Mishra that hit protesters in the car, as the defendant leaders claimed. He is the son of State Minister for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra.
Ashish Mishra told Indian TV news channels on Monday that the allegations against him were “baseless”.
Local news reports identified three of the dead as members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and a fourth as a freelance journalist working for a TV news network that is sympathetic to the ruling party. Police officers did not immediately respond to calls and messages to make sure.
In an apparent attempt to calm tensions, state police temporarily shut down internet services, making it difficult to reach authorities.
The incident drew further attention after Uttar Pradesh police arrested Priyanka Gandhi Bhadra, leader of India’s main opposition Congress party, which oversees the party’s activities in Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested on Monday morning when his convoy was stopped by Uttar Pradesh police after he was taken to visit the families of the slain farmers.
In the wake of the upcoming state elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, Mrs. Gandhi’s visit to the area is seen as an hour for the political fate of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Uttar Pradesh was badly affected by the coronavirus, but its leader Yogi Adityanath was a vocal advocate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist program and worked hard to undermine the party’s Hindu base.
“Show me a warrant as to why you are holding me, or I will leave this place,” Ms Gandhi told a police officer in footage shared by her party. “There are laws in this country, even if there is no one in your state.”
On Monday afternoon, Ms Gandhi told Indian TV news channel NDTV that she had been arrested on charges of illegal assembly.
The incidents sparked protests in the new political vitrol that plagued the Indian capital, New Delhi, and surrounding areas in late November. Large numbers of North Indian farmers have taken up protest camps on the outskirts of the capital in protest against three of the market-friendly farm laws, saying they will keep many of them out of business.
The deadly incident and the arrest of Mrs. Gandhi, the great-granddaughter of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, could lead to a new phase of protests. Growing tensions Mr. Modi’s government and peasant leaders Kovid-1. Its catastrophic second wave could force a resumption of talks postponed this spring.
Farmers continued to protest and rally through epidemics and harsh monsoon rains.
Tensions have repeatedly escalated into violence. The worst happened in January, when farmers stormed New Delhi with thousands of tractors and broke police barricades. In return, the government sent troops to try to arrest the peasant leaders and clear the tents where they had been for months.
Protests intensified in the neighboring state of Haryana last month, when a local official was caught on video instructing police to use violence to break up a rally. State authorities deployed additional troops and shut down the Internet, but tensions eased soon after the government agreed to investigate the officer’s behavior.
Protesters carrying black flags and elderly Mr. The incident took place on Sunday in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh after a series of races between Mishra and his supporters in recent weeks.
Mr. Mixed protesters warned “Behave, or we will teach you how to behave. It will only take two minutes, ”according to a local newspaper.
In response to this statement, the protesters on Sunday called on Mr. Mishra and one of Modi’s party members tried to block the visit of the state minister.
Mr. As Mishra’s convoy was passing by the scene, a vehicle seized by his son and others was deliberately lowered among the farmers, farmers’ union leaders said.
The footage showed two vehicles on fire.
A police barricade was set up to keep journalists and opposition politicians away as peasant leaders, police officials and top Uttar Pradesh officials were present at the scene.
Farmer leaders and state officials have agreed to about 2,500 in government compensation for the victims’ families.
“No criminal will be spared,” Uttar Pradesh’s top police official Prashant Kumar told a news conference on Monday. “Will be arrested soon.”
Mujib Mashal And Hari Kumar | Report contributions.