Farmers prepare for a mahapanchayat on October 26, 2021 following the rail roko campaign earlier in the week. Before the meeting, a farmers procession honouring farmer martyrs continues to march all over India.
The yatra in particular honours the four farmers and Lakhimpur Kheri district journalist who lost their lives after Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish allegedly mowed down protesters with his vehicle. Farmers claim he also shot dead one of the farmers.
In turn, the Minister on October 17 blamed the Uttar Pradesh police for the deaths. During a prayer meeting organised by BJP workers and the driver of the vehicle, Mishra said the police allowed protesting farmers to take over the road, resulting in chaos.
According to farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) his statement indicates the pressure he wields and emphasised the need to sack Mishra so that Ashish can face a fair trial.
“The SKM is aghast at the shameful behaviour of this politician and points out that this in turn will put pressure on police and investigation agencies, as the statements come from a Minister. We also note that accomplices like Sumit Jaiswal were nabbed nearly three weeks after the massacre episode,” said SKM leaders in a joint statement.
Leaders criticised the persistent violence against farmers and warned that the struggle will intensify its dissent if justice is not delivered. Already the Lokneeti Satyagraha Kisan Jan Jagran padayatra had reached areas like Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh, after one unit already visited Chennai on October 18.
Earlier, SKM Tamil Nadu unit leader K. Balakrishnan said that farmers in the southern state continued with peaceful protests but faced police brutality in districts like Mailaduthurai where police manhandled and arrested around 75 activists. All these were done at the behest of BJP, said Balakrishnan.
“In Karur districts BJP goons tried to attack farmers who were peacefully going to burn the effigy of Prime Minister Modi. Police intervened and controlled the situation. Around 70 activists of SKM were arrested. FIRs were registered against BJP volunteers under various sections,” he said, recounting the incident on October 15.
While such incidents against farmers continue, right-wing media attempts to colour the peasant movement as violent by focusing on the death of Dalit daily wage labourer Lakhbir Singh. The man was allegedly mutilated and murdered by a Nihang Sikh group. The group’s leader Baba Aman Singh was reported to have met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in July 2021.
However, farmers have clarified that the religious group has nothing to do with the movement.
“The SKM reiterates that the Singhu Border murder appears to be steeped in a conspiracy to distract [people] from the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre heat being felt by BJP and its governments, and this needs urgent and comprehensive investigation,” said SKM.
The group appealed to all citizens who are part of the farmers’ movement to intensify their resistance through peaceful methods.
Is Nihang leader Baba Aman closely connected to Agriculture Minister Tomar?
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