Lakhimpur Kheri: Farmers begin 75-hour protest demanding Ajay Mishra’s sacking

Mishra’s son Ashish, is a key accused in the killings of farmers in October last year; Ashish is out on bail, Mishra is still a Union Minister

lakhimpur kheri
Image: PTI

On Thursday, famers got together at the Mandi ground in Lakhimpur Kheri to kick-start a 75-hour-long protest demanding the sacking of Ajay Mishra, the Union Minister whose son Ashish is a key accused in the October 2021 incident where his car mowed down four farmers and also led to the death of a local journalist, and three other people in Tikonia village.

Thousands of farmers, both men and women, have now come together for the protest organized by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of farmers’ groups and unions. Leaders such a Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Yogendra Yadav have also joined them.

“We demand sacking of Union MoS home Ajay Kumar Mishra, compensation to the families of farmers who died in farmers’ agitation, law for MSP, roll back of electricity bill 2022,” Avtar Singh Mehlo, state vice president of BKU (Lakhewal) was quoted by a news agency.

Dilbaug Singh Sandhu, district president of BKU (Tikait) said that plans had been in the works for a while. “Around two months ago, the SKM had held a meeting held in Delhi and decided to organise a dharna in Lakhimpur Kheri in support of various demands that include a law to guarantee Minimum Support Prime (MSP) for crops to protect the interest of farmers,” he told Indian Express.

Readers would recall that Sandhu was one of the witnesses in the Tikonia killings and was himself attacked in June this year. The attack on Singh was the third such attack on witnesses in the case. Diljot Singh was assaulted on the intervening night between March 10 and March 11 by 10 men allegedly from the BJP. Rampur’s Hardeep Singh recounted how in April BJP District Secretary Mehar Singh Dayol, BJP member Saranbjeet Singh and three others allegedly hit his head with the butt of his licensed gun. In all these cases, the witnesses were threatened not to give their statements against Mishra.

The Tikonia killings took place during the nationwide farmers’ agitation against the now withdrawn farm laws. A convoy of vehicles, including one in which Ashish Mishra was travelling, had allegedly run over farmers. Ashish was eventually taken into custody after dodging arrest for weeks, but was granted bail, interestingly on a day when constituencies in the agrarian belt in Uttar Pradesh were going to polls for the state assembly elections.


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