Farmer Protests Seeking Dismissal of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Spread Across West UP
Lucknow: At the call of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), hundreds of farmers associated with various organisations began a three-day protest on Friday in different parts of Western Uttar Pradesh, including Moradabad, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Shamli and Saharanpur districts. The farmers have come out in large numbers to support their counterparts in Lakhimpur Kheri who have already started a 72-hour-long dharna since Thursday to press for various demands, including the sacking of Union minister of state Ajay Kumar Mishra, the father of Ashish Mishra, who is an accused in last year’s violence during a protest against the now withdrawn farm laws that left eight people dead.
Farmer leaders in the region are also raising issues pertaining to sugar mills, pending sugarcane dues, power supply and electricity bills among others during their sit-in protests, the union leaders said. “We demand that minister Teni be sacked from the Union Cabinet. We will fight till he is sacked or resigns and is sent to jail,” the farmers reiterated.
“We are holding the dharna because despite our repeated demands, the government did not sack Ajay Mishra. Moreover, despite promising us that no action will be taken against any farmers in the Tikonia case, the police arrested four farmers and sent them to jail. We demand that those four farmers be released because they acted in self-defence as the assailants had come to kill them,” said Manoj Chaudhary, district president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait), Moradabad. The outfit has also demanded that the Yogi Adityanath-led state government provide the promised compensation to the victim families.
Chaudhary, who is leading the protest, blamed the government for cheating farmers. “They promised free electricity to the farmers in their ‘Sankalp Patra’, and now they are installing meters. We can’t afford a manifold increase in bills of tube-wells,” he told NewsClick.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union is set to intensify protests across Western Uttar Pradesh. The farmers’ outfit is planning to take out a tractor march on August 20 and 21 which is expected to reach district headquarters.
BKU leader Naresh Tikait said: “We have no choice other than to speed up the protest being held in Lakhimpur. The government is not paying heed to what the farmers want.”
Another farmer, Rajkumar Karnawal in Meerut, accused the government of working against the farmers. “We have not received sugarcane payment of the previous year, so they disconnect our electricity for non-payment of bills. We can’t afford to pay bills through the meter for irrigation,” he said, adding that if the government does not resolve farmers' issues, they will protest across the state and also reach the state capital Lucknow.
Dharna Continues For Second Day In Lakhimpur
The dharna by farmers in association with Samyukta Kisan Morcha continued for the second day in Rajpur Mandi Samiti on Friday.
A delegation of farmer leaders accompanied by Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav and Darshan Pal went to meet farmers languishing behind bars.
"What happened in Tikunia on October 3 last year was no less than the Jallianwala Bagh massacre," Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan told NewsClick.
He alleged that the main architect of the Tikunia violence case is Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni. Already cases are registered against him in many cases but the ruling BJP is not getting him investigated. He said thousands of farmers from across the country are reaching Lakhimpur in this 'Maha Kumbh' for the next three days till August 21 in the huge sit-in demonstration.
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