9 dead, 14 booked in Lakhimpur Kheri violence; minister denies presence

Farmers Lakhimpur Kheri
Farmers are saying they will not cremate the bodies of the dead until their conditions are met

Fourteen people, including Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, have been charged with murder and rioting in connection with the violence that broke out in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday evening, after nine people were killed when a convoy ran over protesting farmers.

The farmers, protesting the farm laws brought by the Centre, had assembled to prevent the landing of a helicopter carrying UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya and Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni.

The farmers alleged that they were dispersing after the gherao when some cars in the official convoy mowed down protesters. Sources said four farmers, three BJP workers and a car driver were among the dead. According to some reports, a local journalist, Raman Kashyap, was also killed. A number of others were severely injured.

Soon, violence broke out as a mob attacked some cars and set them on fire while others clashed with the security personnel of the VIPs.

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Minister Ajay Mishra’s denial

Ajay Mishra Teni later denied his or his son’s presence at the site, saying their convoy was diverted through another route. Based on a video, he said that some people were beaten with sticks and swords and demanded action against the perpetrators.

To a question on a video showing his son Ashish Mishra holding a revolver and threatening farmers, Teni said he had not seen the video, but said that his son, if he had a revolver, it would have licence, and everyone had the right to carry arms for self protection.

Also read: 2 SUVs run over protesting farmers, violence erupts in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri

Several leaders and parties have demanded a probe by the CBI or a sitting judge. Opposition leaders demanded sacking of Ajay Mishra Teni who had a few days back dismissed the farmers’ protest and said that it would take two minutes to bring the protesting farmers on track.

UP govt’s measures

UP additional director general of police, Prashant Kumar said a retired high court judge will probe the matter.

The state government has assured ₹45 lakh and a government job to the kin of four farmers who died in Lakhimpur Kheri. The injured will be given ₹ 10 lakhs.

The bodies of the deceased have been sent for post-mortem.

The Yogi Adityanath government has promised strict action against those responsible after an investigation and made an appeal to the people to maintain peace.

Priyanka Gandhi, politicians denied entry

The state govt has imposed Section 144 of CrPC to avoid gathering of people and refused entry to leaders who are making a beeline to make their presence felt.

UP Police have detained Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi, who was on her way to the site to console the bereaved families. In a video, she said she was not doing anything wrong by meeting people who have been affected and questioned the government for treating farmers poorly.

She also questioned how she could be arrested on apprehensions that she would commit a crime whereas the minister’s son was roaming free.

Leader of farmers’ union, the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Rakesh Tikait reached Lakhimpur Kheri and put forth demands to sack Teni, immediate arrest of his son Ashish Mishra, an ex-gratia of 1 crore and a government job for the kin of those deceased.

Expressing solidarity, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said he was leaving for Lakhimpur Kheri “to be with my brothers and sisters in this hour of grief”.

The UP government, however, has written to Punjab chief secretary, urging not to let anyone from the state go to Lakhimpur Kheri.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab deputy CM SS Randhawa were among those prevented from going to the state.

Other leaders such as Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra were put under house arrest on Sunday night. Delegations from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress were planning to visit Lakhimpur Kheri. AAP is also planning a candle light vigil at Jantar Mantar on Monday (October 4).

The Centre has deployed two teams each of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at Lakhimpur Kheri.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union has declared that it will stage a protest across the country on Monday (October 4) in view of killing of farmers. The Congress has called for a nationwide protest on Tuesday (October 5).

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