The Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government has been facing heavy criticism over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, where eight people, including four farmers, died on Sunday, 3 October. Several Opposition leaders have been stopped from visiting the site of the incident or meeting the victims' families.
On Tuesday, 5 October, another incident came to light when a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, Savitri Bai Phule, was stopped by the UP police from going to Lakhimpur Kheri to visit one of the victims' families to participate in his last rites. A video of the incident has gone viral on social media, where the police can be seen misbehaving with Phule, pushing her in the car, pulling her by the hair while taking her into custody.
The Quint spoke with Phule, later released on bail in the evening after being detained for several hours, who said the police crossed all the limits of misbehaviour.
"I was going to visit Lakhimpur Kheri from Nanpara. One of the persons killed was very close to my family. I was going to his house to attend his last rites. There were three people in the car, me, my uncle and the driver. I was stopped en route. I told them that we know the family and are going to attend the last rites of one of the victims. We are not going there for any political reason. When the police stopped us, we said, let's take another route to reach their place. However, the police told us that you can't go there. Then they hit my uncle with a stick," she told The Quint.
She said she told the police to stop misbehaving with her. "You must have seen how the female police officials misbehaved with me."
"They slapped me, pulled my hair, forced me to sit in the car, abused me in the car. They told me that you keep shouting 'Constitution'. However, whatever the police want will happen," she said.
"They misbehaved with me at the police station. One of the senior police officers, Anubhav Pratap Singh, was behind all this."
Phule said she had received injuries on her body.
"The police kept taking 4-5 rounds of Nanpara. Kept abusing me. They snatched my mobile. One of the police officials hit me as well," she said.
"At 6 in the evening, they conducted a COVID test on me. Later, I was released on bail. I told them I was a former member of Parliament. They have crossed all limits. Especially the Nanpara police officials," she added.
She said nobody is safe in Uttar Pradesh today and asked for the President's rule to be imposed in the state.
"Today, nobody is safe in Uttar Pradesh, be it farmers, poor people, women. Those who want to protest peacefully are shot at or misbehaved with, or put in jail. Society is not safe. Nobody is safe in this BJP-RSS government. I urge the President to impose President's rule in Uttar Pradesh and to sack the chief minister. He can't run the state," she said.
She said she was going to file a complaint against the officials and would meet the family of the victim 'no matter what'.
"I am going to file an FIR against those responsible. The way they misbehaved with me... abused the Constitution. Their police official, Anubhav Pratap Singh, said the country would not be run as per the Constitution. Whatever the police wants would happen. Police can use 'lathis' and also controls law and order," she said.
"I am going to meet the family of the deceased, no matter what," she added.