The Uttar Pradesh government has also announced that a retired High Court judge will probe the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and it will give a compensation of Rs. 45-lakh to the families of four farmers who were killed after being hit by SUVs – one reportedly belonging to Union Minister Ajay Mishra – on Sunday.
After the deaths of eight persons – including four farmers and some workers of the BJP – at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait reached the district late Sunday night after clearing police barriers.
He has led four rounds of negotiations with the administration. An official in UP said that apart from the compensation for the kith of the deceased, a government job to one member of the families of the dead farmers has been agreed upon. A copy of the FIR against the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, who owned one of the SUVs, has also been given to the farmers’ delegation. The state government will also pay a compensation of Rs. 10-lakh each to farmers who were injured, said the official.
The farmers had demanded Rs. 1-crore compensation for the deceased, an FIR for ‘murder’ against the minister’s son, a government job for one member of the family of each farmer who died and a judicial probe into the incident.
Union minister Ajay Mishra has, however, denied that his son was present at the spot. After four farmers were killed when the SUV hit them, other farmers lynched four persons, including BJP workers.
Sources say that the incident happened in a part of the district having a significant Sikh population. Overall, the Sikhs constitute just above 2 per cent of the population of the district.
A local source said that the district has seen farm protests in the recent past but this incident has marked a major escalation. While the so-called Jat belt of western UP has till now been in news for farm protests, Lakhimpur in central UP close to Nepal has sizeable Kurmi, Lodh and Maurya populations, apart from Brahmins and Thakurs.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had announced on Twitter that he would be visiting Lakhimpur Kheri and requested the state administration to let him land there. However, an official in UP said that Channi, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel were all detained at the Amausi airport in Lucknow.
RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary managed to cross Moradabad but was detained soon after. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav was detained outside his residence in Lucknow when he staged a sit-in against the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi was also not permitted to meet the kin of the deceased and was detained at a guest house.