Lucknow: Three farmers were allegedly killed and 10 injured Sunday during a protest held in Lakhimpur, 140 km from capital Lucknow, against Union MoS for Home, Ajay Mishra Teni, for a speech about the farm laws protest last month.
There has been no official confirmation about the deaths from the administration. However, in a statement issued Sunday evening, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) , the coalition of farmer groups leading the stir against the farm laws, referred to allegations that vehicles in the minister’s convoy had ploughed into the protesters.
They also said “it is reported” that the minister’s son Ajay (Monu) Mishra shot a protester dead.
“Peacefully protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri (district) of Uttar Pradesh were attacked by a convoy of vehicles associated with the BJP’s Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni, his son, his uncle and other goons who ran over several protesters,” the statement said.
“It is reported that one of the farmers was shot dead by the son of the Union MoS Ajay Mishra Teni, Ashish (Monu) Mishra. At least two other farmers were killed in the incident (one on the spot, and another in a hospital), and around ten others injured seriously,” the statement added.
“It is reported that… SKM leader Tajinder Singh Virk has also been injured. More details about the deceased and injured are awaited. It is reported that farmers were also provoked into retaliation after this brutal attack, and that vehicles of the BJP leader were smashed,” the statement said. “The Samyukta Kisan Morcha demands that the Uttar Pradesh government should immediately impose cases with murder charges against all those involved from the side of Ajay Mishra Teni.”
The organisation has also called for the minister to be dismissed.
ThePrint contacted UP Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar, but calls to his number went unanswered. Calls were also made to Lakhimpur District Magistrate Arvind Kumar Chaurasia, but his staff said he was on the spot right now and would update the media later.
Calls to minister Teni, who represents the district’s Kheri constituency in the Lok Sabha, went unanswered.
What happened at the site
Last month, addressing an event, Teni said the farmers should “get their behaviour in order”.
“Why has the farmers’ protest not got attention in Lakhimpur? Because there are only 10-15 people protesting against the laws. If the farm laws were so bad, the protest would have caught on. I would say ‘sudhar jao’ to these farmers,” he said, in a video that has since gone viral.
On Sunday, Teni arrived in Lakhimpur for an event that he was supposed to attend with Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya.
“Farmers gathered in Lakhimpur to protest against Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni at an event Sunday. Farmers displayed black flags to protest against the farm laws and a statement he had made in his speech… where he allegedly challenges farmers to ‘beware of him’,” said an eyewitness on the condition of anonymity.
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The SKM said in its statement, “Thousands of farmers with black flags occupied this morning the helipad at Maharaja Agrasen Ground to prevent the Deputy CM from landing there. As reported earlier, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr Ajay Mishra Teni had issued an open threat to farmer leaders in a public meeting recently.
“The brutal attack on farmers is reported to have happened as the farmers were dispersing and leaving from the protest site. Mr Teni’s son, uncle and other goons are then reported to have run over the protestors who had lined up on the roads with black flags and two farmers are reported to have been killed on the spot. Many others have been hospitalised,” added the statement, issued by Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal and Yogendra Yadav, among others.
The SKM then sought to warn “BJP leaders of Uttar Pradesh to stop provoking farmers of the state”.
“After an emergency meeting, SKM is expected to announce its next course of action. Meanwhile, several SKM leaders have left from different locations to Lakhimpur Kheri,” the statement added.
Rakesh Tikait, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and one of the prominent faces of the farm laws protest, released a statement saying he will visit the district soon.
“Farmers were returning and they were attacked with cars, there was firing. As per the current information, some people have been killed and many injured. We are leaving for Lakhimpur Kheri and should reach there by midnight or so,” Tikait said.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)