As thousands of farmers streamed into Lakhimpur Kheri today for the antim ardas of the farmers who were killed on October 3, hundreds more staged a dharna at district collectorate in Mirzapur, holding up banners with the images of the slain farmers, and shouting slogans, demanding justice for the dead.
Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh
On October 3, violent clashes erupted between protesting farmers and members of political parties in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. Eight people lost their lives, including four farmers, a journalist, two party workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and their driver.
As thousands of farmers streamed into Lakhimpur Kheri today for the antim ardas or the final prayers for the departed, 425 kms away at the district collectorate of Mirzapur, hundreds more staged a dharna, holding up banners with the images of the slain farmers, and shouting slogans, demanding justice for the dead.
“We are protesting what happened at Lakhimpur Kheri with the farmers. We are here to submit our letter of demands to the district magistrate,” Mahendra Kumar Singh, National General Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sena, a farmers’ union, told Gaon Connection.
The memorandum, addressed to the President of India, was handed over to Rajasva Harishankar Yadav, additional district magistrate, Mirzapur.
“We want the guilty to be punished. We want Ajay Kumar Mishra, the minister of state for home affairs, to be removed from his office, his son to be punished, and we want the agri laws to be rescinded,” Mahendra Kumar Singh said.
A First Information Report (FIR) was filed on October 4 against the Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son, Ashish Mishra accusing him for murder and conspiracy.
The FIR noted that he was sitting on the left side of the SUV and mowed down the protesting farmers on October 3. A viral video, reportedly from Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, shows an SUV running over a group of protesting farmers who were walking on the road holding flags.
On October 9, Ashish Mishra was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police after 11 hours of questioning.
However, farmers are far from satisfied and their protests are going on.
In Mirzapur, the slogans got louder and while attempts were made to dissipate the crowd at the Collectorate, assuring them that the officials were doing their best to address the matter, the protesting farmers were in no mood to be appeased.
“Farmers were shot at. They were run over in cold blood. We will not move from here until Ashish Mishra and others responsible for the farmer deaths are punished,” Lal Mani Patel, district head of Bharatiya Kisan Sena, told Gaon Connection.
“We will also not back down from our protests unless the kaala kanoon is taken back,” he added, referring to the three contentious agri laws passed by the parliament last September, which have led to farmers protesting on the border of the national capital, Delhi, for over 300 days now.
“Ashish Mishra should be given a severe punishment. Or, we will increase our demand. We are a small crowd now, however, if our demands are not met, we will step up our protests, and go nationwide with them,” Jira Bharathi, district president, Communist Party of India- ML, told Gaon Connection.
Meanwhile, back in Lakhimpur Kheri, several politicians joined the antim ardas to pay their respect to the dead. This included Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the All India Congress Committee in charge of Uttar Pradesh. The Congress party will submit a memorandum to the President of India on Wednesday, October 12, according to news reports.