Kolkata: From Central Trade Unions to puja pandals in West Bengal, protests against the killing of farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri have taken place in districts across the state.
Rallies and street corner protests were held amid the festive atmosphere in the state ahead of Durga Puja. Left leaders have decried as inhuman and barbaric the incident where an SUV belonging to Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son mowed down four farmers.
Programmes condemning the incident were held in Siliguri, Burdwan town, Krishnangar, Kalyani, East and West Medinipore districts, Howrah, North and South 24 Pargana districts, and Bankura.
In a puja pandal at Dumdum, a club organisation called Bharat Chakra depicted the brutal murder of Lakhimpur Kheri and the farmers’ protests. The main pandal has been designed with paddy while the outside wall graffitis have been painted depictring the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
At a programme on Friday in Sealdah, near the railway station, central trade union leaders condemned the crime and sought immediate arrest of the accused ministers’ son in the case.
Speaking at the rally organised by the Central Trade Unions to condemn the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, Anadi Sahu, General Secretary of CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) West Bengal Committee, said that the Modi government was turning deaf ears to the rightful demands of the farmers at the Delhi Border. As a result, the movement has been spreading throughout the country, he said.
Sahu said the Modi government has resorted to many malpractices to stall the farmers’ movement. “The whole country is startled by the way farmers have been mauled under moving vehicles by power elites. Never before this sort of barbarism has been witnessed by the people of the country since Independence,” he said. :If the state government has guts, they should immediately arrest the accused son of the central minister. Even the Supreme Court has demanded explanation for not arresting the culprit Ashis Mishra till now,” the CITU leader added.
He also reiterated the demand for the Union government to sack Ajoy Mishra from Modi’s cabinet immediately. “Though the whole country is protesting against the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, The Modi and Shah combine has not been able to expel the rogue minister from the cabinet. The farmers have continued their movement for ten months and have showed that they cannot be stopped with tear gas and water cannons,: Sahu said in his speech. He further added that this movement has brought together workers and farmers as the government was simultaneously handing over the agricultural sector to corporates and diluting labour codes. He also called for more joint movement in the coming days demanding just prices of agriproducts, Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all food grains, and minimum wages and social security for all worker.
Basudeb Bose, President of AICCTU, presided over the rally and condemned the “trigger happy police raj” in BJP-ruled states. In Assam, too, farmers have been shot at mercilessly in the name of eviction, he said.
Apart from Sahoo and Bose, AITUC leader Basudeb Gupta, TUCC leader Prabir Banerjee, and UTUC leader Dipak Saha also spoke in the rally.