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Lakhimpur Kheri Tragedy Was Pre-Planned To Teach Us A Lesson, Says Farmer Leader And Eye-Witness

According to farmer leader Paramjeet Singh Pummy, Ajay Mishra Teni's son was in the car that mowed over four protesting farmers on Sunday

Lakhimpur Kheri Tragedy Was Pre-Planned To Teach Us A Lesson, Says Farmer Leader And Eye-Witness
Lakhimpur Kheri Violence | PTI
Lakhimpur Kheri Tragedy Was Pre-Planned To Teach Us A Lesson, Says Farmer Leader And Eye-Witness
outlookindia.com
2021-10-06T16:01:51+05:30

Paramjeet Singh Pummya farmer leader in Lakhimpur Kheri, claims to be an eyewitness of the incident in which it was alleged that Ashish Mishra, Son of Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, ran his vehicle over protesting farmers and killed four of them. 

Pummy is the Vice President of a farmers’ association, Bhartiya Sikh Sangthan, and when the incident took place on October 3 in the afternoon, he was on the stage holding a mike and giving various instructions to the farmers.

He says that every year Mishra holds a wrestling competition in his ancestral village Balbirpur on October 2 but this year he held it a day later on October 3 because of his busy tour. The farmers decided to show him black flags as a mark of protest.

Pummy spoke to Outlook from his village Manjha and said that everything happened right in front of his eyes.

Excerpts:

You claim to be an eye-witness of the incident. Can you tell how what happened and how the violence unfolded in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday?

Yes, I, like many other farmers who were on the spot, am an eyewitness of the whole incident. I was on the stage and making various announcements to the farmers. Then I saw three vehicles coming from the one side of the road in the direction in which farmers were walking. The farmers couldn't see the vehicle as they came from behind. The first passed at a normal speed but it looked like the second one was driving fast. There were bouncers standing at the gate of this second one. Suddenly, it turned towards the footpath and ran over farmers. It went out of control and, as I remember correctly, it would have hit the additional superintendent of police also had he not changed his position suddenly to save himself. Then the vehicle overturned and took some somersaults.

Did you see Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s son driving the vehicle and running it over the farmers?

I didn’t notice whether he was diving or not but I saw him coming out of the car and firing bullets in the air and in other directions. Then he ran towards the sugarcane farms to save himself. The local police who was present on the spot provided him with a cover and he fled from the spot with their help. I heard more gunshots and I believe police also fired to intimidate farmers and make a safe route for his son to escape.

Is it also true that protesting farmers, instead of helping four men who were stuck in the overturned car, lynched them when they tried to come out?

When the vehicle ran over the farmers and they saw the bodies of their own in a pool of blood, how can you expect them to behave in a very calm and peaceful manner? They were furious and attacked the people who were stuck in the car. I couldn't see whether they came out of the vehicle alive but yes I saw farmers had surrounded them. Unfortunately, the four people who have lost their lives, are also from our village only and we feel the pain of their families as well.

Do you think it all happened accidentally as they were crossing the road and might have lost control of the vehicle?

No, it was a planned conspiracy to teach protesting farmers a lesson as they had come to the venue with arms and sharpshooters. When the overturned vehicle caught fire, it looked like it had arms and explosives inside it as we could see several explosions. What we believe is that they had come with a clear mind to kill some of the protesting farmers but accidentally their vehicle overturned as they couldn’t control it.

Why do you think it was pre-planned?

Look, you have to see how the whole incident unfolded. Let me explain to you what I know about the chain of events. The problem started sometimes back when Ajay Mishra Teni came to his village for the first time after he was appointed Minister of State for Home. Famers wanted to show him the black flag then but we, the leaders, decided not to do that as he came for the first time to his ancestral village after becoming a cabinet minister. But when he started visiting villages in the district as a part of his political campaign, farmers showed him black flags due to which he got angry. There are videos that showed that he issued open threats to farmers and said they would be driven out of the village very soon if they didn’t mend their ways

 But isn’t it true that farmers first seized the helipad where they were supposed to arrive from helicopter and travel to his ancestral village?

Let me finish what I am saying, as it will prove how it was a pre-planned move. Yes, it is true that farmers seized the helipad by around 12 pm in the day but none of them were violent and all were protesting peacefully. I was on the stage supervising the protest so no one can know it better than me. We only planned to show them black flags as a mark of our protest as he had issued a threat to us in the past.

When the farmers came to know that Mishra was also arriving in the village in a helicopter along with Keshav Prasad Maurya, the Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, they decided to oppose Mishra and not KP Maurya. They were supposed to arrive by 2 but by the time helipad was under farmers’ control.

There is a main road which is close to the helipad and had they come by helicopter, they would have taken this road to reach their village where the wrestling competition was supposed to be held. But when the helipad became inaccessible, they had to come by road.

The farmer leaders suspected that if the convoy came by the road near the helipad, it would have to pass through the over-crowded protesting site which might lead to ruckus or untoward incidents. We requested the police administration to provide them with an alternate route which was about 5 km from this site.

So did they take the route you suggested and reach their village? Then how come the three vehicles reached near a helipad where the incident occurred?

That itself explains how it was a pre-planned move. KP Maurya, Ajay Mishra Teni and others took that route which was 5 km away from the protesting spot and reached their village. After the incident, they went back from the same route. But his son took this route in a vehicle along with two others. Now, Ajay Mishra Teni and others say that he was going to receive the guests which is a blatant lie. When the guests had given a safe passage 5 km away from the helipad, who was he going to receive? The guests had already arrived in the village.

Do you mean to say that Mishra’s s son came towards the helipad only to kill farmers? Why will he take such a huge risk when he knew that farmers are in huge numbers?

What we have come to know is that when Ajay Mishra Teni and others reached their village, then they realised that their route was diverted due to the farmers. They were already upset as the farmers had seized the helipad. This infuriated his son and he came in the vehicle with bouncers to teach us a lesson. They were heavily armed with gunners and they had big plans to create an even bigger tragedy but as their vehicle overturned, he was left with no option but to run away from the spot under police cover.

All eight bodies have been cremated except the one in which it has been suspected that the farmer died due to a gunshot. Did you see any person being hit by any gun?

I didn’t see that happening but the person, a farmer named Gurvinder, has a gunshot and it is quite obvious. The post mortem report has been manipulated to show as if he died due to other physical injuries which is not true. Possibly, he died due to a gunshot from the arm that Mishra’s son was carrying.

A well-known farmer leader Tajinder Singh Virk has been severely injured in that accident and has been admitted to Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon. Some farmers also allege that he was one of the targets. How far is it true?

Yes, he might be one of the targets because he was the one who had accepted Mishra’s challenge and replied to his threat in a video that had gone viral.

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