On 3rd October, news flashed on Indian televisions about an SUV knocked down farmer protestors in Lakhimpur kheri district in Uttar Pradesh. As per the witnesses, three SUVs made their way when approximately 300 farmers were protesting at the site. According to the reports, 8 people died in incident including 4 farmers. The 2020-21 Indian farmers protest is an ongoing protest against three farm acts which were shown green flag by the parliament of India. Strong disagreement appeared from farmers end and a public dispute emerged between central government and farmers organization.
Three SUVs were driven roughly at the crime scene out of which one is said to be driven by Ashish Mishra. He is the son of Union Minister of state for home Ajay Kumar Mishra. FIR (First Information Report) has been filed against Ashish Mishra along with others for the charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and 20 other imposed charges in Lakhimpur Kheri by farmer in connection as for Sunday’s violence.
In the middle of this, political heat started surfacing in the country. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Opposition political party, Indian National congress was stopped midway and was not allowed to go further to meet families of violence victims in Lakhimpur Kheri. The district is under prohibitory orders, to avoid any situation that can awake violence. After which, many opposition leaders expressed their disappointment about no action has been taken considering the clear evidences, also targeted government of Uttar Pradesh, currently led by BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party).
Visuals of the incident is circulating on social media platforms, and people are writing about the brutal violence against farmer protestors. Haram pal Singh is one of the protestors who is supporting farmers from the last year, when it all started. He belongs to a farmer family, and agree that there is every reason to stand with them and for them. Citing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, he said, ‘Its very disheartening to hear what happened with farmers at Uttar Pradesh. 8 people died. When our government will understand the value of lives? Why any action is not taking place. It happened on 3rd. Days are passing but no inquiry has even started. What is stopping them? It’s the power that have hallowed out men from inside.’
Union Minister Ajay Mishra claimed that his son was not present during the violence and clarified that farmers started pelting stones at the cars, out of which some stones hit the driver, the car went out of control and overturned. ‘I have been part of this protest from last year. And I solemnly stand against any kind of violence. The protest has been peaceful from the very beginning. Yes, some people tried making it dirty during the occasion of republic day this year, but no real farmers were behind that violence too. And this statement of, farmers-initiated violence does not sit well with me and with all the supporters.’, said Haram Pal. According to him, he is in regular contact with some of his known, who were there and is getting updates on the ongoing inquiry.
Some of the reports are claiming after examining the visuals, that Ashish Mishra was not driving the car and nowhere to be found around the spot during the incident. Although, the car involved in the incident is registered by his name. Haram Pal Singh quoted Eat News, ‘This protest has become a national political issue and political leaders are trying harder to get benefit from it. This whole narrative of farmers was responsible for the violence and that Minister’s son is wrongly accused is a short example of it.’ He further added, ‘Democracy states – for the people. And India being the largest democracy is not representing any of it. If the government is so much bothered with the protest that has been going on from last year, farmers are on roads fighting for their right, they should have come up with some alternatives that could be proved beneficial for both the parties. But farmers are bearing the loss from every side and still government is not owning the decision.’
On asking does he think, this can be a conspired portrayal of putting farmers at negative side, to which he said, ‘I have no clue what is going to be next. But yes, if a big fish traps, it is not easy for everybody around. Definitely, for saving their public image, they will target farmers who were there at the large number, but to fight their long battle.’ There was information about deaths from gun shots too, which was later cleared when the autopsy report revealed that no farmer died of bullet injuries.
Farmer’s protest started with genuine and rightful concerns in 2020, got recognition internationally, faced criticism, accused of following false and anti-national narrative has come a long way. On ground, there are still number of farmers sitting on roads chanting their demands and asking from government to take back new amended farmers act. Will protest reach its destination, is a question.
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