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Punjab CM To Visit Lakhimpur Kheri; AAP, SAD To Send Delegations

Eight people were killed on Sunday as violence erupted during a farmers'' protest, claiming the lives of both farmers and BJP workers ahead of a visit to Lakhimpur by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday said he would visit Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh to stand in solidarity with the families of farmers who lost their lives in the violence during a protest a day earlier.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Punjab Congress working president Kuljit Singh Nagra and a few party legislators, including Kulbir Singh Zira, Barindermeet Singh Pahra and Gurpreet Singh GP, were supposed go to Uttar Pradesh by road.

Punjab opposition parties, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal, also announced that they would be sending delegations to UP.

Eight people were killed on Sunday as violence erupted during a farmers'' protest, claiming the lives of both farmers and BJP workers ahead of a visit to Lakhimpur by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

Four of the dead were people in the cars, apparently a part of a convoy of BJP workers who had come to welcome the UP minister. They were allegedly thrashed to death.

The four others were farmers, officials have said.

Farmer leaders have claimed that the son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra was in one of the cars which they said knocked down some protesters who were opposing the deputy CM''s visit.

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and some legislators of his party held a protest outside the Punjab governor''s residence in Chandigarh, and demanded the arrest of the Union minister''s son.

Raising slogans against the BJP, they also condemned the detention of AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in UP.

Gandhi and some party leaders were detained in Sitapur on Monday when they were enroute to Lakhimpur Kheri.

Punjab CM Channi took to Twitter to announce that he would go to Lakhimpur Kheri and that he has sought permission from the UP government for the visit.

"Expressing solidarity with bereaved families of farmers, I''m leaving for Lakhimpur Kheri to be with my brothers and sisters in this hour of grief. I''ve also sought permission from UP government to allow landing/taking off of chopper at the site," he tweeted.

The Punjab civil aviation department on Monday urged the Uttar Pradesh government to allow Channi''s chopper to land so that he can go on the visit.

"As you are aware that due to the situation arising out of the incident and deaths of peacefully protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh, the chief minister wants to visit the families concerned to be with them in this hour of grief," the director of the Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab, wrote to UP Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awanish Kumar Awasthi.

"It is requested that permission may be granted for landing and taking off (of) the chopper of CM. It is also requested that adequate arrangements may be made so that the chief minister may meet with concerned families," it added.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has requested the Lucknow airport authority not to allow the arrival of the Punjab deputy CM, who announced plans to visit Lakhimpur Kheri, in view of the violence that erupted there.

Strongly condemning the Uttar Pradesh administration for this, Randhawa said he would go by road along with a few party legislators. "If they (UP authorities) want us to arrest us, then they can do so," he added.

The deputy CM dubbed the incident a “massacre” of farmers and likened it to the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh tragedy.

Farmers were crushed to death under a vehicle, he alleged, demanding the arrest of the Union minister Ajay Mishra''s son.

The AAP''s Punjab unit said it will send a delegation led by MLA Harpal Singh Cheema to Lakhimpur Kheri. The delegation will comprise the party''s Punjab affairs co-in-charge Raghav Chadha, state legislators Kultar Sandhwan and Baljinder Kaur.

AAP Punjab unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said, "Whatever has happened at Lakhimpur Kheri is the limit of oppression."

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party will also send a delegation led by Prem Singh Chandumajra to UP.

The party has also convened its emergency core committee meeting on October 5 in the wake of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. Badal has postponed his programmes in Jalandhar as well, said party leader Daljit Singh Cheema. 

(PTI)