Monday, Sep 26, 2022

Lakhimpur Kheri: Punjab Farmers Demand 'Justice', 3-day Long Agitation Begins Against Centre

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has decided to hold the protest from August 18 to 20  to seek 'justice' in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. 

Representational Image
Representational Image PTI

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Thursday morning began its 75-hour-long dharna at Rajapur Mandi Samiti in Lakhimpur city to press for its various demands, including the sacking of Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra.

The SKM had decided to hold a protest from August 18 to 20  to seek "justice" in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. 

"BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, national organisation secretary Bhudev Sharma and some other prominent leaders arrived here on Wednesday for the dharna," the district president of Bharatiya Kisan Union-Tikait (BKU-Tikait), the local convener of the agitation, Dilbagh Singh Sandhu, told PTI. 

Many more leaders of SKM would participate in the dharna, he said.

What is the protest all about?

Avtar Singh Mehlo, state vice president of BKU (Lakhewal), who arrived here at the dharna spot on Thursday morning along with his supporters, said "our fight is for justice to the farmers killed in Tikunia violence on October 3, 2021."

"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," Mehlo said.

Apart from justice, the farmers are also demanding the withdrawal of cases registered against them during the stir against the Centre's now-withdrawn farm laws, compensation to families of farmers who died during the course of the yearlong protest and legal guarantee for the minimum support price of crops.

They are also demanding the sacking of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish was arrested in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.       

On July This year, the Allahabad High Court denied bail to Ashish Mishra, who was allegedly sitting in one of the cars that crushed the farmers to death.

Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan on Wednesday said they are going to Lakhimpur Kheri on the call of the SKM.

"We will participate in the 72-hour long 'dharna' there," he said.            

BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said around 2,000 farmers, including women, left for Uttar Pradesh to participate in the protest.   

BKU (Doaba) president Manjit Singh Rai said 10,000 farmers from Punjab are participating in the protest.

"Some are going on trains and some on their own vehicles," said Rai. 

Lakhimpur Kheri violence

On October 3 last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri in Tikunia village during a car incident that happened 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 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 agriculture laws.

(With PTI Inputs)