All that the family of Raman Kashyap wants now, is that they be given the details of their son’s post mortem examination report, adequate compensation for the bereaved family and a government job for his wife, so his two young children can be looked after. The journalist was among those who were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday. Even as his bereaved family waited for the post mortem examination report, they told the media that he seems to have died when he was hit by the speeding vehicle.
In each interview he has given, Ram Dulare Kashyap, journalist Raman’s father has said he rushed to identify a body no one recognised after the violence that erupted in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday. He recalled that he was told a car had run people over and gun shots had allegedly been fired at the site of a farmers’ protest in Tikoniya. Raman, a school teacher turned passionate journalist, was covering the protest. After many agonizing hours, the father found his son’s body.
Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni had initially ‘counted’ Raman Kashyap as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker who had allegedly been killed at the spot. This was adding insult to the deep personal injury the family had suffered, and the father refuted the Minister’s claim. He wrote a separate complaint to the police stating, “My son was a reporter with Sadhna News (channel) at Nighasan. On October 3, he was at the Maharaja Agrasen sports Ground to cover the farmers’ protest where Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya were supposed to come.” He added, “The MP’s son Ashish Mishra and party workers killed my son.”
The family has stuck to its stand in each interview they have bravely given, despite their anguish, perhaps in the hope that justice is done. They have also put on record their distress and accused some media houses of “putting words” in their mouths to perhaps change the narrative. Raman Kashyap’s brother told journalist Ranvijay Singh, that some “reporter from Aaj Tak” told him that Raman “had been hit with sticks and lathis,” however the brother said the same thing that his father had. That they had seen the body, in the mortuary, and had not yet been given Kashyap’s postmortem examination report.
लखीमपुर हिंसा में पत्रकार रमन की मौत हो गई. उनके भाई के मुताबिक गोदी मीडिया वाले पत्रकार की मौत में राजनीति कर रहे हैं.
परिवार को धमकाया जा रहा कि वो किसानों के खिलाफ बोलें. ‘आज तक’ का नाम भी लिया है. सुनें pic.twitter.com/UJI1xOZghJ
— Ranvijay Singh (@ranvijaylive) October 5, 2021
The family has not changed its stand on the reason of death, and their demands. Raman’s brother Pawan Kashyap told NewsLaundry that he was being pressured by “Members of BJP” who want him to include Raman’s name “in their FIR to show that an equal number of deaths happened on both sides…They want to use my brother for this balancing act.” He added that they are trying to show that his brother was killed with lathis (that hints at farmers getting violent in retaliation), but he says that Raman was killed when he was run over with a vehicle. The family fears that even the post mortem examination reports can get “changed under political pressure.”
“Members of BJP want to include my brother’s name in their FIR to show that an equal number of deaths happened on both sides…They want to use my brother for this balancing act” – said family of deceased journalist Raman
— Nidhi Suresh (@NidhiSuresh_) October 6, 2021
It is Raman’s death, which in a macabre way tips the so called ‘balance’ in the number of deaths caused allegedly by the speeding vehicles which eyewitnesses have identified in multiple reports as being driven by or belonging to Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra. The Uttar Pradesh police released the FIR detailing that Ashish was firing on protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, while seated on the left side of the Mahindra ‘Thar’ vehicle that ended up mowing down four farmers. However, Ashish a.k.a Monu is yet to be arrested. According to the FIR filed by local resident Jagjeet Singh, Ashish was sitting on the left side of the vehicle that ran over people on October 3, 2021. The report charged Ashish with murder and causing death by negligence and acknowledges that assembled farmers were protesting peacefully, the FIR stated: “It was around 3 P.M that Ashish rushed towards the protest site along with 15-20 armed men in three- or four-wheelers. Ashish, who was in his Mahindra Thar, sat on the left side and fired and crushed the people in the crowd.”
A viral video on social media and SKM leader Tajinder Virk, who went through surgery after the Sunday incident, also confirmed Ashish’s presence at the scene of crime. Raman Kashyap, was said to be interviewing or talking to Virk when he too was hit.
A teacher turned journalist who wanted to make a difference
Raman, according to News18, started his career as a teacher at a local school, but switched to journalism as he was “passionate about news”. Five months ago he joined a local TV channel and on Sunday was reporting from the farmer protests in Lakhimpur Kheri. Raman (33) is survived by wife Aradhana and children, daughter Vaishnavi (11) and son Abhinav (2.5), as well as his parents and brothers. His wife Aradhana told CNN-News18 that “he was completely blood-soaked…his body had gittis (road construction material) riddled in it.” His father has also alleged that the journalist was denied timely medical attention, saying, “His injuries were not that serious. Had they taken him to a hospital he would have lived but they put him in the ‘shav vahan'( hearse van).”
His brother Pawan told The Print, “The place where the incident took place has three hospitals nearby, with one 100-200 metres away. If he had been rushed to a hospital, he may have survived.” He added, “Action needs to be taken against the kotwali that took him straight to the mortuary (45 km away), that too in a police car and not an ambulance. My brother was alive till then.” However the police told the media, “We took four injured people to the hospital (including Kashyap). He died after reaching the hospital and following that we shifted him to the mortuary.”
The Lucknow Journalists’ Association wrote to the additional chief secretary, requesting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath to give Rs 1 crore compensation and a government job to Raman’s next of kin. The Editors Guild of India has also issued a statement and a court-led SIT probe, and called it a “terror attack meant to spread fear amongst the farmers,” adding that “the killing of Kashyap raises many questions. The Editors Guild demands that the death of Kashyap be separately probed by a Court led special investigation team to ascertain the circumstances of his death and also attempt to recover and use the footage of his camera to build the sequence of events leading to his death.”
The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the death of Raman Kashyap, a TV journalist who was reporting on Lakhimpur Kheri’s farmers protest on October 3. pic.twitter.com/UU5SvvoHbE
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) October 5, 2021