Clash Between BJP Workers and Farm Law Protestors Kills Nine in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri
By: Om Jha
During a protest against the three farm laws in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri, a bloody clash broke out on Sunday, resulting in lynching, arson and the deaths of nine, four farmers and four BJP workers and one journalist, the Indian Express reported.
On Sunday, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad was on a tour of Lakhimpur Kheri. A fleet of SUVs led by Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, was supposed to receive him. However, on the way, the cars ran into farmers protesting in the Tikunia area. The protestors alleged that Ashish and his supporters accelerated into the group and ran over four of them as they were passing by.
The cars could not escape the mob, and soon, they were surrounded. The dissenters overturned the SUVs, setting them on fire. The vehicle’s occupants were dragged out of the car, beaten up, and mutilated with sticks and swords. The farmers claimed that Ashish Mishra shot the first man to reach his car and escaped through the fields.
Officials told India Today the four farmers crushed under the SUVs were Daljit Singh (32), Gurguvinder Singh (20), Lovepreet Singh (20) and Chhatra Singh.
The victims of the enraged mob have been identified as Shubham Mishra, son of local BJP leader Vijay Kumar, Hariom Mishra, Ajay Mishra’s personal driver and Shyamsundar, the son of a ground-level BJP worker. The body of an unknown BJP worker was also found but could not be identified.
Raman Kashyap, a journalist at local channel Sadhna Prime Time, was reported dead on Monday morning. In an interview with The Telegraph, Kashyap’s father said that according to the post-mortem report, his son was shot in the arm before being run over by a vehicle.
According to Lallantop’s ground report, the state police had opened fire on the protestors in an attempt to disperse them as the mob violence crossed the 30-minute mark. The cops have denied these allegations. They have, however, detained Ashish Mishra after an FIR was lodged against the Union minister’s son at Tikunia police station.
Union minister Ajay Mishra has also denied the allegations against his son. In a conversation with Aaj Tak, he said, “My son was in the Banwanipur area since 9 AM on Sunday. He couldn’t have done such heinous work. I have lost the most in this violence. My driver was killed, my cars burnt, my son was arrested. Now, you tell me that I am the villain here?” Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has described this violence as “sad and unfortunate.” After this incident, the CM tweeted, saying that the state government would take strict action against those guilty in the case.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders are demanding the resignation of Union Minister Ajay Mishra and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya. Several leaders tried to go to Lakhimpur but were detained at different places. These also include former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and AAP MP Sanjay Singh.
Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav sat on a dharna outside his residence in Lucknow. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati claimed her party leader Satish Chandra Mishra was placed under house arrest in Lucknow, preventing him from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri.
The BJP, on the other hand, is complaining about the violence meted out on its members.
The news of an agreement between the administration and the farmers is coming to the fore regarding the incident. According to Hindustan Times, Adityanath has assured that the accused would be arrested within eight days, along with an ex gratia of Rs 45 lakhs to be paid to the kin of the farmers, pending a judicial inquiry.
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