Lakhimpur violence: Farmers' leader Tikait reasserts demand for Union Minister's sacking; warns of nationwide protests
Nine months after violent clashes during a farmers' stir in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri, Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait organised a 75-hour long protest in the district and reasserted the demands of the cultivators. The main demands include sacking of Union Minister Ajay Mishra 'Teni', withdrawal of legal cases registered against the farmers and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price. Details here.
Ramji Mishra 20 Aug 2022 2:29 PM GMT
Leading a 75-hour long farmers' protest in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri, Rakesh Tikait, leader of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) launched a fresh salvo at the Union government for failing to meet the demands of the protesters in connection with the violence in the district in October, last year, which claimed the lives of eight persons.
"The main demand is the sacking of [Union Minister] Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni. Also, all farmers that have been arrested and charged with false cases should be released at the earliest and all legal cases against them should be dropped," Tikait told Gaon Connection.
On October 3, last year a convoy of three SUVs, including one owned by Union Minister Ajay Mishra 'Teni', had run over a group of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri following which four farmers died and a local journalist named Raman Kashyap also lost his life in the incident. In the aftermath, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and a driver of the SUV owned by the minister were also killed.
With thousands of protesters raising slogans against the allegedly anti-farmer policies of the government, Tikait also appealed to the farmers to prepare for a nationwide stir if the government fails to meet their demands.
"If the government fails to meet our demands, we will launch nationwide protests. Wherever we go, be it Karnataka or Gujarat, this Lakhimpur incident is mentioned everywhere. Farmers are furious at the callousness of the government in dealing with this case. Sarkaar sudhar jaaye, kaan khol le apne ," Tikait told Gaon Connection. [The government should get its act together and stop playing deaf to our demands']
Thousands of protesters from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and western districts of Uttar Pradesh also joined the protest in Lakhimpur Kheri in a show of solidarity.
Demands include MSP law, pending sugarcane dues
Apart from the demands pertaining to the violent incident in Lakhimpur Kheri, Tikait also stated that the agrarian crisis in the country has not been resolved even after the Union government has withdrawn the controversial farm laws.
"We need a legal guarantee on the MSP. Farmers are not able to get a justified price for their produce and their exploitation is being ignored by the government," he said while addressing the protesters.
"Also, issues like pending sugarcane dues, withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill need to be highlighted. The farmers are not happy in this country," the farmers' leader added.
Victims' families participate in protests
Many family members of the farmers who lost their lives in the violence last year, also participated in the protests. Jagdeep Singh, son of one of the farmers who died in the violence last year, told Gaon Connection that he will not rest unless those responsible for the violence are punished by the law.
"My father Nakshatra Singh was mowed down by the cars in October last year. I want to see those responsible for the act punished by law but at present there's a lot of high-handedness in handling this case," Jagdeep Singh said.
Also, Pawan Kashyap, brother of the journalist Raman Kashyap who lost his life in the violence, stated the promises made by the state government in the aftermath of the violence are yet to be fulfilled.
"The victims' families were assured a compensation of Rs 10,00,000. Also, I was assured of a government job but nothing has been done so far. The government is trying to suppress the entire issue," Pawan said.
Meanwhile, Devendra Singh, a farmers' leader from Punjab's Sangrur district who participated in the protest, told Gaon Connection that thousands of protesters like him have come to Lakhimpur Kheri to express solidarity with their farmer brethren in the district.
"Unless Teni [Union Minister] gets removed from the ministerial position, we will not rest. The struggle is immense, but our spirit is unwavering," he said.