The farmers of India, who have been protesting the three farm laws for over 11 months, and are now dealing with the aftermath of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that has claimed nine lives so far, have also marked an important milestone. After a day-long all-India agitation by the farmers, an FIR has been registered against Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has also reportedly assured the farmers that all the accused will be arrested within a week. According to information shared by All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) the FIR is “as per complaint by families” of the victims and the accused were charged “under section 302, 120B”. It is likely that Minister Ajay Mishra may also be named in the complaint. An enquiry will also be conducted by a sitting High Court judge, stated AIKMS.
Uttar Pradesh Police ADG (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar had earlier told the media that the “Govt will give Rs 45 lakhs & a government job to the families of 4 farmers who died in Lakhimpur Kheri yesterday. The injured will be given Rs 10 lakhs.” Meanwhile, protests have been held across the country, according to a statement issued by Dr. Ashish Mital AIKMS, “Effigies of Modi Government (were) burnt in hundreds of villages” and “Memos submitted to officials.”
Politics have also begun to heat up over the issue. Opposition leaders who were attempting to reach the venue and stand in solidarity with the families of the farmers who were killed, were stopped from entering the district and many were detained, including Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who then began a protest fast in detention. Videos of her confrontation with police personnel had gone viral on Sunday night. She told reporters that the “incident shows that this government is using politics to mow down farmers. This is the farmers’ country, not BJP’s… I’m not committing any crime by deciding to meet the victims’ kin…Why are you stopping us? You should have a warrant.” She had been detained in the Hargaon police station area.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was also detained by the police from outside his residence in Lucknow, reported Indian Express. He then proceeded to sit on protest right there, and was reportedly detained outside his residence. Soon Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and other MLAs from the state were also detained while trying to reach the UP district. According to sources a notice was issued to prevent politicians from reaching Lakhimpur Kheri, especially politicians from Punjab.
The move was slammed by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury who stated that the BJP and the Centre, saying they have “no business to not allow” political leaders to visit Lakhimpur Kheri. “The BJP and Modi government have no business to not allow political parties to reach victims of the barbarism inflicted on farmers yesterday. Strongly condemn this draconian throttling of democracy,” he tweeted and joined a solidarity march
Joined CPI(M) UP State conference at Allahabad march condemning Lakhimpur brutality, demanding judicial enquiry under SC judge, arresting the criminal assaulters & sacking central minister. pic.twitter.com/cm16s77JPk
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 4, 2021
The killings have been widely condemned from all corners. Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU issued a statement condemning the “gruesome killings of farmers who were peacefully protesting at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh” as well as the statement by the Haryana CM who has been caught on camera “directing RSS/BJP activists to unleash physical attacks on the struggling kisans.” He said, “This fascistic regime resorted to unleashing repressions. In the wake of upcoming State Assembly Elections in the largest state- Uttar Pradesh, where the “Defeat BJP Mission” announced by the kisan panchayat at Muzaffarnagar kisan rally that has already sent a shivering into the spine of Yogi & Co which led a desperate situation where RSS and its political platform- BJP is becoming restless. Thus they resorted to violence against farmers true to their fascist characters.” The CITU has called “upon the working class to come out in large numbers to condemn this dastardly killing and to express our class Solidarity with kisans.”
However, there has been a crackdown on other citizen’s protests as well. In Delhi students organisation AISA and others called for a protest demonstration at UP Bhavan in Delhi on Monday demanding that the Lakhimpur Kheri accused be arrested. However, they say that as soon as the protesters gathered, Delhi Police cracked down on the group, and allegedly used force to disperse the gathering and detain those present at UP Bhavan. “Some activists, including Neha, AISA Delhi State Secretary who marched from the Malcha Market towards UP Bhavan also faced violence, manhandling and detention,” accused AISA in a media statement.