Lucknow: A day after Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions, has given a call for ‘rail roko’ agitation on October 18 in view of the violence that took place on October 3 in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, which killed eight people, including four farmers, a “high alert” has been sounded across the state.
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In the view of farmers’ protest, the Uttar Pradesh police have cancelled all leaves of the staff until October 18. Eleven districts, including Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Kheri, which have seen maximum activities related to farmers, have frozen the leaves of its police personnel.
An order was issued by the Additional Director of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar on Sunday, which mentions that no official should be granted leave, unless in the most unavoidable circumstances, till October 18. The official order, however, is also attributed to the festival season.
“In view of upcoming festivals and proposed programmes of Samyukt Kisan Morcha, Uttar Pradesh police cancels all types of leaves of the staff till October 18. Leave from headquarters will be allowed during the period only for unavoidable reasons. This order will be effective with immediate effect,” it reads.
Simultaneously, 10 senior IPS (Indian Police Service) officers have been deployed in Kheri district. In view of the farmers' movement, 20 IPS officers have been deployed in 13 districts of the wWstern Uttar Pradesh, which witnessed a series of ‘Kisan Mahapanchayats’. The special deployment has been made in Bareilly, Meerut, Bahraich, Ghaziabad, Shamli, Pilibhit, Muzaffarnagar, Amroha, Shahjahanpur, Moradabad, Bijnor and Rampur.
FARMERS’ PREPARATIONS ON WAR FOOTING
Amid a confrontation with the Centre over three farm laws, another showdown is looming large between farmers and the Uttar Pradesh. Farmers’ organisations on Monday told NewsClick that preparations for the nationwide ‘rail roko’ were in full swing and they were receiving an enthusiastic response from across the state.
“Enthusiastic response is being received from all over state. We are amplifying the call given by SKM for October 18 in the wake of Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The peasants and even common citizens consider the Kheri incident as a personal loss. I have never seen farmers of the Awadh region so charged up. Kheri may become another epicentre of farmers’ protes, like Ghazipur border,” Brij Bihari, general secretary of Mazdoor Kisan Manch, Uttar Pradesh, told NewsClick.
Bihari, along with a farmers’ delegation including All India People’s Front president SR Darapuri, went to meet the family members of farmers who were mowed down by an SUV allegedly driven by Union Minister of State for Home and BJP leader Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish. Farmers said Dussehra is celebrated by burning effigies of Ravana (symbolising evil) but this time, they will burn effigies of “today’s Ravana” (Modi-Yogi).
“They are the Ravana of today’s era. Hence people will burn their effigies with fervour,” the farmer leader further added.
Meanwhile a joint venture of Mazdoor Kisan Manch and All India People’s Front, under the leadership of Darapuri, is preparing to launch an indefinite strike in Sitapur and Kheri on October 11, demanding MoS Ajay Mishra’s resignation with immediate effect, whose son is allegedly involved in mowing down the farmers, who were peacefully walking back after a protest.
Darapuri said the future course of action of farmers’s agitation in Awadh and eastern Uttar Pradesh will be jointly decided on October 18 at convention. “Our indefinite strike won’t end until Union Minister Ajay Mishra is removed immediately from his post. His son should be punished as per law which will sent an example for others that no minister or his/her son above the law,” he added.
Amandeep Sandhu, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Lakhimpur Kheri district president, while talking to NewsClick, said thousands of farmers were expected to join the proposed programme, about 1,200 meters away from the spot where incident took place, a prayer meeting will be held for all the four farmers. “Rakesh Tikait, Gurnam Singh Chaduni and Balwinder Singh Rajewal are also coming to participate the meeting,” said Sandhu.
Workers of dozens of farmer unions are working full throttle for preparations for the funeral procession, the ‘antim ardas’, for the peace of the souls of the farmers killed during the uproar in Tikonia on October 3.
“Apart from Uttar Pradesh, farmers are also likely to come from Punjab, Haryana and adjoining Uttarakhand,” the BKU leader said.
Meanwhile, in view of the possibility of confrontation, large-scale deployment of paramilitary forces has been made in Kheri district as a “precautionary” measure.
‘Antim Ardas’ of Deceased Farmers
The SKM has called to observe October 12, the ‘antim ardas’ rituals of four farmers who were killed in Kheri, as ‘Shaheed Kisan Diwas’ in Tikonia. They also appealed to people to organise prayer meetings in temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras and observe candlelight vigil across the country.
Furthermore, a ‘rail roko’ protest will be organised across the country on October 18 from 10 am to 4 pm. Farmers’ nationwide protest also includes burning effigies on Dussehra, October 15, of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
Commenting over the preparations in the region, Jasveer Singh Virk, Bharatiya Sikh Sangathan (BSS), told NewsClick: “The antim ardas (last rituals) is being organised in Tikonia under the banner of SKM, BKU and BSS. The whole management -- from stage decoration to langar distribution -- our volunteers are working on a war footing to make is a success. A meeting will be held from 10 am to 3 pm. About 50,000 farmers mainly from adjoining districts, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Bahraich and Lakhimpur Kheri will join the prayer meeting here tomorrow. Besides, farmers from other states are also expected to participate,” he added.
3- Day Police Custody for Minister’s Son
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday got three-day remand of Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
"Police had demanded a 14-day remand of Ashish. They have got three-day remand from October 12 to 15," senior prosecution officer SP Yadav told reporters.
The police remand was granted by Chief Judicial Magistrate Chintaram, with the condition that Ashish Mishra will not be harassed and his lawyer will remain present during interrogation, Yadav said.
Earlier, the Union minister’s son, Ashish, was arrested on Saturday and sent to judicial custody for 14 days. He has been charged with multiple offences, including murder and criminal conspiracy, in connection with violence.