The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) began its 75-hour-long dharna, beginning today, to “seek justice” in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, at Rajapur Mandi Samiti in Lakhimpur city. The protesting farmers are pressing for several demands, including the sacking of Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, whose son Ashish Mishra is a prime accused in the Lakhimpur violence case. The protest will be held from August 18-20, where farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana will participate.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, national organisation secretary Bhudev Sharma and some other prominent farm leaders arrived here on Wednesday for the dharna, district president of BKU-Tikait, the local convener of the agitation, Dilbagh Singh Sandhu, told PTI.
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Nearly 10,000 farmers from Punjab will take part in the protest, Bharti Kisan Union (Doaba) president Manjit Singh Rai, told NDTV. The farmers left for Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, travelling in trains and some on their own vehicles.
Eight people were killed on October 3, 2021 in Lakhimpur Kheri’s Tikunia village during a farmers’ protest against Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to the area. Four farmers who were part of the protest were mowed down by an SUV, with the minister’s son Ashish allegedly as one of the occupants.
A driver and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers. A journalist had also died in the violence that triggered outrage among the Opposition parties and farmer groups agitating over the Centre’s now-repealed three contentious agriculture laws.
In July this year, the Allahabad High Court denied bail to Ashish Mishra, noting that if he was granted bail he might influence witnesses, Live Law had reported.
Avtar Singh Mehlo, state vice president of BKU (Lakhewal), demanded that Mishra must be sacked and also a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Prices (MSP).
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He said “our fight is for justice for the farmers killed in Tikunia violence on October 3, 2021.” Mehlo added, “We demand sacking of Union MoS home Ajay Kumar Mishra, compensation to the families of farmers who died in farmers’ agitation, law for MSP, roll back of electricity bill 2022.”
The protesting farmers also demand withdrawal of cases registered against farmers during the year-long protest against the farm laws.