Boston- Describing the Lakhimpur Khiri violence as “absolutely reprehensible”, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said similar incidents occur in other parts of India but should be picked up when they should have happened, not when they were picked up. However, when there is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in a state, it seems appropriate for some people to pick them up. Sitharaman, who is on an official visit to the US, made the remarks in response to a question at Harvard Kennedy School about the deaths of four farmers in Lakhimpur Khiri and the arrest of Union Minister of State’s son Ashish Mishra.
He asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior ministers had not said anything about the incident and why “defensive answers” were always given whenever someone asked about such things. “It’s not like that at all,” the minister said. It is good that you have raised an issue which is absolutely reprehensible and every one of us is saying it.
Sitaraman said, “Such incidents are happening in many different parts of the country in India. I want you and other such incidents to be picked up and those incidents are picked up only when some people think the issue suits them. The Lakhimpur incident took place in a state where the BJP is in power, which is probably putting my cabinet colleague’s son in trouble.
Asked about the farmers’ protests, Sitharaman said the three agricultural laws introduced by the government had been discussed by various parliamentary committees during the decade. He said that since the BJP came to power in 2014, these three laws have been discussed separately by the state governments by the Union government and each stakeholder was consulted.