Hitendra Malik is happy that he was right when he took the most crucial decision of his life — coming back to his village when Rahul Gandhi arrived and staying back even after Gandhi was picked up by the police on Wednesday night.
“If I am standing before you...it’s only because of Rahul Gandhi,” he said. For him, Gandhi’s 19-hour stay in the villages was no “mean theatrics”, as it was termed by chief minister Mayawati.
Gandhi’s walk around the affected villages — after the bloody clashes over the UP government’s land acquisition policy — gave confidence to Malik and few others to come back home even if for few hours only.
In fact, Gandhi’s visit has turned the non-descript villages into political hotspots and with assembly elections in UP scheduled for 2012, all the political parties will seek to grab this opportunity thrown open by the farmers' uprising.
Fearing retribution, almost all the male members deserted Parsaul and the neighbouring Bhatta village after the clashes left four people, including two policemen, dead.
Only women and few old men — some of them with severe bruises— stayed back in the villages. The villagers even alleged that scores of people were burnt alive by angry policemen after their two colleagues— Manvir Singh and Manohar Singh —were killed in last week’s clash with farmers.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who looks after the party's UP affairs, backed the villagers' claim. He said he had proof that the BSP government had killed several unarmed farmers and women.
Singh said, “We have proof of this atrocity. Bones have been found in heaps of burnt hay. A woman's body was found in the canal. I have not seen such kind of brutal atrocities in my 40 years of political career.”
He reiterated his party’s demand for a judicial inquiry into the incident.