NEW DELHI: The Lakhimpur Kheri violence, in which four farmers were killed, is “absolutely condemnable,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while questioned during her visit to the US. She also emphasized that there are issues of such nature happening in other parts of India equally which should be raised “when they happen and not when it suits others” because there is a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.
Sitharaman, who is on an official visit to the US, was responding to a question during a conversation at Harvard Kennedy School on Tuesday about the killing of four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri and the arrest of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra.
She was asked why was there no word on this incident from the prime minister, senior ministers and why is there a “defensive reaction” when somebody asked questions about such things.
Sitharaman replied, “No, absolutely not… It’s nice of you to have picked up that one incident which is absolutely condemnable, every one of us say that. Equally, there are instances happening elsewhere, is my concern.”
“India has issues of such nature happening in very many different parts of the country equally. I would like you, and many others, including Dr Amartya Sen, who all know India, to raise it at every time when it happens, not just raise it when it suits us because it’s a state where BJP is in power, one of my cabinet colleague’s son is in probably trouble, and also assume that it’s actually them who did it and not anybody else. Due course of justice will also have a complete inquiry process to establish it,” she added
“And it’s not being defensive about my party or my Prime Minister. It’s being defensive about India. I will talk for India, I will talk for justice for the poor. I will not be mocked at. And if it is mocking, I will be defensive to stand up and say ‘Sorry, let’s talk on facts’. That’s my answer for you,” she said.
Ashish Mishra was named in an FIR following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting over UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit on October 3.
To a question on the farmers’ protests, Sitharaman said that the three acts which the government brought in were discussed by the various parliamentary committees over a decade.
She said all the three acts have been discussed variously by the State governments, by the Center after the BJP came into power in 2014.
“This has been in the making for a decade now. Every stakeholder has been consulted,” she said.
“When the farm laws were brought in the Lok Sabha, there was an elaborate discussion and the agriculture minister gave his reply as well. It was only when it came to the Rajya Sabha, there was a lot of noise and disturbance,” she said.
housands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting on various borders of Delhi since November 26 last year, seeking repeal of three farm laws enacted in September.