Amid farmers’ protest in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh – on the day of the visit of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra – four farmers were killed and at least eight were injured, according to Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
At a virtual press conference held later in the day, the farmers’ umbrella union said that while three of the deceased farmers were run over by Mishra’s son Ashish (aka Monu) and a few goons accompanying him, one was shot dead by them.
The farmers were protesting today ahead of Mishra’s visit, who was set to attend a programme organised by UP Deputy CM Keshav Maurya in Lakhimpur Kheri. The farmers were agitated due to a number of anti-farmer, provocative statements made by Mishra recently.
Richa Singh from UP’s Sitapur, who was one of the protesters in Lakhimpur Kheri today, said that the farmers had gathered at the helipad where Mishra was supposed to land and were protesting peacefully, waving black flags. “Mishra landed and went off to the programme he was supposed to attend. We did not follow him. We kept our demonstration going at the helipad itself where some of us delivered speeches to the gathering. Even as he left later, we merely raised slogans and were set to go our ways,” she said.
Corroborating Singh’s account, Guramneet Mangat, who was present at the spot when the alleged shooting and killings occurred, said, “After the minister was gone, and the farmers were about to disperse, Ashish Mishra, his brother, and a few goons arrived at around 3 – 3.15 pm in three cars. They drove haphazardly and ran over farmers who were there on the side of the road. They started firing at the famers as well. One farmer was shot at from a very close distance. He has died.”
The injured farmers were taken to the Lakhimpur District Hospital. Those who have succumbed to their injuries today were named as Lavpreet Singh (20), Daljeet Singh (35), Gurwinder Singh (19), and Nakshtra Singh (60).
One of the leaders of the SKM, Tejinder S Virak, has been seriously injured and was admitted to a hospital in Lakhimpur Kheri. He has been referred now to a hospital in Bareilly.
Kisan Sabha leader P Krishnaprasad, referring to a video – where Haryana CM can be reportedly seen asking people to pick up sticks and attack the protesting farmers “in retaliation” – said, “They have managed to do it in UP. They did not only hit the farmers, but killed them.”
“However, we will continue with our peaceful protest. We have to win this battle,” he added.
Condemning the killings of farmers in Lakhimpur, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has appealed to the farmers across the country to protest at deputy commissioners’ offices on October 4 between 10 am and 1pm. The protests will be done to raise three key demands. First, Ajay Mishra be dismissed from the Council of Ministers; second, an FIR be filed under Section 302 of IPC against Ashish Mishra and his others responsible for the killings; and third, the investigation into today’s incident be taken up under a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and not by the UP Police.
Dr Darshan Pal, a leader of the farmers' union said at the press conference, “Ministers like Mishra and Khattar have been trying to provoke the protesting farmers. But we are fighting peacefully.”