A graphic video, showing a jeep mowing down a group of farmers walking on a track has gone viral and has raised vital questions. The video shows the vehicle running over farmers from the back, and has been shared as a the visual record of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident where four farmers were reportedly run over. Since Sunday October 3, when the incident occurred, the farmers who were at the site have shared small clips in closed groups that people were run over. The graphic visuals showed the badly injured men lying on the dirt track as others scrambled to help them. Some of the rushedly filmed clips circulating in these spaces had audio where those rushing to help, can be heard that the victims were run over by ‘Monu’, the nickname of Ashish Mishra, son of Ajay Mishra who is Union Minister of State in the Ministry Home Affairs (MHA).
Two days after the violence claimed nine lives, the video continues to trend on social media and political parties are sharing it as well. The videos, playing out on cell phones show a jeep running over protesting farmers, from the back. Right-wing defenders of the regime, however, are busy spinning the attack around and claiming that the vehicle had somehow been ‘attacked’ and was trying to get away. They ignore the fact that the driver ran over four innocent farmers, and could have run over more if the crowd did not jump out of its way.
A case in point is Aman Chopra of Network18, who when called out, tried to justified that if the driver was guilty so was the man who was accused of attacking a “BJP worker”.
…लेकिन गाड़ी की Windshield पहले से कैसे टूटी हुई थी। पूरा सच सामने आना अभी बाकी है।
— Aman Chopra (@AmanChopra_) October 5, 2021
So a journalist came out to turn the murder case into a right of self defence. This is the standard of ‘Manu Media’. pic.twitter.com/P1ZsIINxCJ
— Suraj Kumar Bauddh (@SurajKrBauddh) October 5, 2021
The Congress party too posted a video purportedly of the incident, questioning the Modi government “silence” over the issue. The Prime Minister is yet to condole the deaths reported from Lakhimpur Kheri.
किसानों को पीछे से गाड़ी तले कुचलने वाले दिल दहलाने वाले विडीयो के 36 घंटे बाद भी देश के गृह राज्य मंत्री को न बर्खास्त कर और न हत्या का मुक़दमा दर्ज कर मोदी जी ने साबित कर दिया है कि वो लखनऊ में प्रजातंत्र के बर्बादी महोत्सव में शरीक होने जा रहे हैं।#Lakhimpur_Kheri pic.twitter.com/HTwvj3g6Ud
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) October 5, 2021
The government is yet to make any comments on the video, which shows farmers walking along a road being run over, a farmer wearing a white shirt and a green turban, is seen landing on the bonnet. The jeep drives on and is followed by a black SUV. As there are injured people writhing in pain, the group of farmers rushes in to help, after a few moments of shock, as some other video had shown.
I was not in the car: Ashish Mishra
The farmers have alleged that the vehicles were part of the convoy of Ashish Mishra, son of Ajay Mishra, Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs. Ashish Mishra has been named in the FIR lodged in the case. However he has claimed that he was not in any of the vehicles part of the convoy.
Ashish Mishra claims, “The programme that was happening was an ancestral one. It has been going on for around 35 years… We have a tradition that when we have guests, we send two-three vehicles to receive them… the Mahindra Thar was my vehicle, one of our workers had a Toyota Fortuner and there was a smaller car.”
He told NTDV in an interview, “I was not in the car. I was at my paternal home in Banwirpur village where a wrestling match was being organised. I was there from the morning till the end of the event,” adding that it was the farmers who attacked the “Thar SUV that was in the front was attacked with sticks and stones. The driver Hari Om was injured or may have died in that attack. The car lost its balance and overturned. That’s how these two people who are being called farmers must have been injured.”
Meanwhile, the internet has been suspended, and Section 144 (CrPC) imposed in Lakhimpur Kheri by the authorities “to prevent any further untoward incident”. Opposition leaders have not been allowed to visit the protest site, or visit the families of the farmers who were killed. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, reportedly remain in detention.
.@narendramodi जी आपकी सरकार ने बग़ैर किसी ऑर्डर और FIR के मुझे पिछले 28 घंटे से हिरासत में रखा है।
अन्नदाता को कुचल देने वाला ये व्यक्ति अब तक गिरफ़्तार नहीं हुआ। क्यों? pic.twitter.com/0IF3iv0Ypi
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) October 5, 2021
However, Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad reportedly drove on a motorcycle and reached the place to pay his tributes to the victims.
देश के अन्नदाताओं की शहादत व्यर्थ नहीं जाएगी। शहीद किसानों को नम आंखों से नमन।
इतिहास गवाह है कि शहादतें क्रांति को जन्म देती हैं। तानाशाही भाजपा सरकार का अंहकार भी जल्द ही टूटेगा। किसान मजदूर एकता जिंदाबाद। pic.twitter.com/loXf24vCtb
— Chandra Shekhar Aazad (@BhimArmyChief) October 5, 2021
The UP government continues to scrambled to contain the fallout of Lakhimpur Kheri, and had to depend on Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait to reportedly assure the victims families that justice will be done, and a Rs 45 lakh compensation will be paid to the family of deceased farmers. However, the government is yet to share if the main accused has been found yet. This is one of the biggest challenges now facing the Adityanath government.