The Lakhimpur Kheri incident that left 8 people, including four farmers, dead could have proven to be a nightmare for the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, had Rakesh Tikait not been roped in for mediation. The BJP government acted quickly to control the situation in the violence-hit area and managed to ensure that not only is a deal reached with the farmers but the crowd of over 25,000 is dispersed in time.
Surprisingly, it was Tikait who helped the BJP government achieve the breakthrough, along with a group of officers who have dealt with him over the years. According to a report by The Indian Express, these officers called in Tikait and ensured that he reached Lakhimpur Kheri at the earliest and arranged for talks at around 1.30 am on Monday and ended around 2 pm.
According to the report, it was Tikait who asked the officers to keep Opposition leaders at bay as to not make the situation more complex. Following this, the Yogi government did its best to not let the opposition leaders reach Lakhimpur Kheri, either by road or by air.
An official told the IE that Tikait left Lakhimpur Kheri only after the protesters had dispersed. Tikait also did not express any aggression or criticism towards the state government during the talks or while addressing the farmers. Senior Police officials including District Magistrate Arvind Chaurasiya, Superintendent of Police Vijay Dhull, Lucknow Range IG Lakshmi Singh, Divisional Commissioner Ranjan Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Devesh Chaturvedi, ADG, Law & Order, Prashant Kumar, and ADG, Lucknow Zone, S N Sabat were involved in talks with the farmers representative led by Tikait.
The farmers put forward three demands – murder case FIR against Union minister Ajay Mishra and his son Ashish; compensation of Rs 1 crore to the family of each of the deceased farmers; and a government job to one member of their family in their native district. The government officials wanted the farmers to reduce the compensation amount and give up the government job demand but they did not budge. Following the talks, an FIR was lodged, a reduced compensation amount of Rs 45 lakh each and government jobs for the kin were announced.
The report also stated that there were many tense moments during the talks as the crowd kept swelling. Officials feared that any small incident could trigger a clash between angry farmers and security personnel deployed there. Reportedly, the farmers were armed with swords, sticks and licensed guns.