Jasdev Singh, Lahimpur Kheri
Protests against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Lakhimpur Kheri district on Sunday took a bleak turn with farmers groups alleging that at least 9 people including 4 farmers were killed and several injured after they were deliberately run over by a car that was part of the convoy of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra. The Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son overpowered the farmers of Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. When he got down from the car and ran away, he opened fire on the farmers following him. The farmers had assembled there to oppose Maurya’s visit to Banbirpur, the native village of Union Minister of State for Home and MP Ajay Kumar Mishra.
SKM leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said this was a well-planned attack, and not an act of rage at the spur of the moment. “Two days back, we had received an audio recording, where minister Mishra was heard saying that if the farmers tried to protest during his visit, he would fight them out. But not scared of the threat, the protesting farmers occupied the helipad where the minister was supposed to land. In protest, the minister’s son and his close aides came in cars and mowed down farmers.At least 10 farmers were seriously injured, besides the ones who have died,” he alleged.
It was a peaceful protest and farmers were well within their democratic rights to show black flags . Local unit members have confirmed that farmers were hit from the back when they were returning after the protest. What is to be probed is that why was Mishra’s son going to receive Mr Maurya when the deputy chief minister’s programme was already canceled.
Refuting the allegations that his son Ashish Mishra was driving the vehicle that rammed protesting farmers , Home Ajay Mishra Teni in a televised statement said his son was not even present at the spot when the incident took place. He went on to say that several terrorist organisations like Babbar Khalsa were making attempts to disrupt the law and order since the beginning of the farmers' protests and that this incident was a part of a terrorist act by them.
To make the situation worse, Haryana CM ML Khattar has issued a provocative statement urging people to take up arms against the farmers in Haryana.In over a one-minute-long video, Mr. Lal, in an interface with the party cadres, has been seen directing them to raise groups of 500-700 volunteers armed with lathis in each district of north and west Haryana and retaliate against the protesting farmers. He said the problem of the protests did not exist much in south Haryana. He also urged the cadre to promote new farmer unions.
BKU leader Tikait has demanded Mishra’s dismissal and the registration of a case of murder against his son and “other goons”. The farmers’ unions have also announced a protest at district magistrates’ offices across the country on Monday. Tikait claimed that the farmers were “attacked” while they were returning from the Lakhimpur protest. Some of them were run over and they were also fired upon, he alleged.
SKM had called for a gherao of all DC offices in the country on Monday at 10 am from 12 noon. SKM demands that a case under Sec. 302 (murder) has to be registered immediately against Ashish Mishra Teni and others involved in this attack on farmers and a letter will be sent to Narendra Modi demanding suspension of Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra. It is to be remembered that just a few days before he had issued a brazen threat to the farmers.
With the intervention and marathon talks with the farmers, the Uttar Pradesh government has engaged with the protesting farmers and settled to pay a compensation of Rs 45 lakh to the kin of the four farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. A compensation of Rs 45 lakh will be paid to the families of the deceased while the injured will get Rs 10 lakh. A judicial probe will also be conducted in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence matter while one family member of the victims will be given a job. UP Police ADG (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar said on Monday, “The government will give Rs 45 lakhs and a government job to the families of the 4 farmers who died in Lakhimpur Kheri yesterday. The injured will be given Rs 10 lakhs.”
Kumar also said that an FIR will be registered based on the farmers' complaint and a retired high court judge will probe the matter.
Political Figures To Visit Lakhimpur
The congress general secretary and in charge of UP Priyanka Gandhi would be visiting Lakhimpur on Monday to meet the families of deceased farmers. Priyanka Gandhi has already sent a team of congress leaders on the spot. The congress state general secretary Saif Naqvi, state secretary Abhishek Patel, Gurmeet Bhullar and former MP Jafar Ali reached the spot on Monday and met with the agitating farmers. According to a senior congress leader of UP, Priyanka would be coming back from Delhi to Lucknow on Monday and immediately she will leave for Lakhimpur. Rashtriya Lok Dal president Jayant Chaudhary and Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad have announced that they would be present in Lakhimpur Kheri on Monday.
The incident had once again proved that the government could stoop to any level to crush the farmers’ movement against the three farm laws. The death toll in farmers' protests has crossed the six hundred mark since the protest began. But what the GodiMedia kept running on their screen the whole day was the drug case of Shah Rukh Khan’s son, that was way more important to them than the deaths of the 9 farmers . They were just trying to distract people from India's grim reality. This is the modern face of India’s free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism by some news channels