At least eight people have died in violence that erupted after farmers were crushed to death by a car in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. There is tension in the area and several prominent opposition leaders are trying to reach the site of the agitation. At least eight people have died in the violence that broke out in Lakhimipur Kheri on Sunday. The farmers were protesting in Lakhimpur Kheri district, where Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra and UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya were to have a program. According to reports, two of the vehicles included in the convoy of Minister Mishra crushed the farmers. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Mukul Goel told news channel CNN-News18, “Eight people have been killed in the Lakhimipur Kheri incident. Of these, four were farmers and four were in vehicles.” Photos: Star supporting the government Several videos are being shared on social media in which farmers can be seen moaning on the roadside covered in blood. Videos and pictures of burning cars have also been shared on social media. Bhumika Farmer’s organizations have claimed that minister Ajay Mishra’s son was either himself or was driving in the car that crushed the four farmers. After the incident, agitated farmers set the cars on fire.
Four people who were part of the minister’s convoy were killed during the violence. Ajay Mishra has rubbished the claim of his son being involved in the incident. Talking to local media, he said that the protesters attacked his convoy and killed three Bharatiya Janata Party workers and a driver. He said the car was being driven by his driver and after being pelted by miscreants, he lost control and ran over people. “Had my son been there, he would not have come back alive,” Mishra told news agency ANI. Police have registered a case of murder against several people, including Ajay Mishra’s son. Political reactions Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath termed the incident as sad and unfortunate and appealed to the people to maintain peace. He took to Twitter on Sunday. Said, “The incident that happened in the district Lakhimpur Kheri is very sad and unfortunate. The UP government will go to the bottom of the causes of this incident and expose the elements involved in the incident and take strict action against the culprits.” Meanwhile, internet services were suspended in the state and roads leading to the state capital Lucknow have been blocked. Many opposition leaders have expressed strong reaction to the incident. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted and said, “Who is silent even after seeing this inhuman massacre, he is already dead.
But we will not let this sacrifice go in vain – Kisan Satyagraha Zindabad!” His sister and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi visited the violence-affected areas. It is reported that he is trying to go to Lakhimpur Kheri. He said on his Twitter that Kisan Satyagraha will be stronger. Priyanka Gandhi tweeted, “How much does the BJP hate the farmers of the country? They don’t have the right to live? If they raise their voice, will you shoot them, trample them with a car? Enough is enough. This is the country of farmers, BJP. It is not a fiefdom of cruel ideology. Kisan Satyagraha will be strengthened and the voice of the farmer will be louder.” Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Adityanath. He wrote, “Just had a brief conversation with Shri Tejinder Singh Virk ji, a farmer leader who was seriously injured in the incident of being trampled by BJP workers in Lakhimpur Kheri. In view of his critical condition, the government should immediately provide him with the best treatment. That’s it. Make a demand that the Chief Minister resign.” A Year of the Farmers’ Movement For almost a year now, farmers in many parts of India have been protesting against the agricultural laws brought by the central government.
Only last week, farmers had demonstrated these laws on the completion of one year of the President’s assent. The Center had promulgated the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agreement on Agricultural Services Bill in June last year in the form of an ordinance. After that they were introduced in the Parliament. Especially farmers of states like Punjab and Haryana are opposing these three ordinances. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill aims to hand over the process of fixing prices of vegetables like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, potatoes and onions to the market. Critics of the bill believe that it will only benefit middlemen and big industrialists and small and medium farmers will not be able to get the right price for their produce. The Government of India says that there is a need for massive reforms in the agriculture sector and these laws have been brought for that purpose. But the protesting farmers fear that these laws will bring them at the mercy of big industrialists. The Lakhimpur Kheri incident also has political significance as assembly elections are due in the state next year, for which not only the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and other parties have also entered campaign mode. VK/AA (Reuters, AFP).