A violent-clash between farmers and BJP workers in Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh claimed eight lives of which four were claimed to be farmers and the rest, BJP workers. The incident took place ahead of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit. On Monday, protests were held all over Uttar Pradesh. Images of cars and other vehicles being set ablaze by an angry mob dotted the internet. While many opposition party members tried to reach the spot, they were blocked and detained. How did the events roll out at Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday? Why did clashes break out between farmers and BJP workers in the first place?
Here's a timeline of events:
Call For Protest: Farmer unions such as the Samyukta Kisan Yojana had reportedly given a call for protest against the visit of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra Teni. They were on a visit to inaugurate a few government schemes in Banbirpur village.
Car Hits Protesters: When the convoy of SUVs carrying the Deputy CM and the union minister was crossing Tikonia, one of the vehicles mowed down protestors – as was alleged by farmers. As per reports of local bystanders and farmers, the SUVs arrived at high speed and hit the farmers, resulting in death and injury. The cars later turned turtle, (PTI report).
SUVs Set Ablaze: Following the incident, farmers allegedly set fire to two SUVs. Eight lives were lost in the incident. As per reports, four of the deceased were farmers while the other four were persons in the car. According to reports, farmers have alleged that the union minister's son Ashish Mishra was driving the car that mowed down the protesting farmers. Ajay Mishra, however, has since denied the charges and said that his son was not present in the convoy but was instead at the inauguration event. As news of the incident broke on social media and videos of injured farmers went viral, Opposition leaders took up the issue.
Heavy Security Deployment: Monday saw a heavy deployment of security in Lakhimpur Kheri where internet services were snapped following Sunday's incident. Normal life appeared affected, not only in Tikonia, but the entire Lakhimpur Kheri district. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CRPC has been imposed. Personnel from the Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB) and UP State Police were deployed in large numbers in Tinsukia to maintain normalcy.
Politicians Detained: Several political leaders were stopped from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the families of the deceased farmers.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra headed toward Lakhimpur Kheri early on Monday but was detained by UP police en route. She was later detained at a guest house in Sitapur. Videos of her asking the police for a warrant or documentation went viral. In Lucknow, former UP CM and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav was put under house arrest and detained by UP police when he tried to stage a sit-in outside his house. Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel was detained at Lucknow airport.
State-wide Protests: Protests and demonstrations were reported from various districts, including Banda, Chitrakoot, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Fatehpur, Jalaun and Lalitpur in the Bundelkhand region, besides Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home turf Gorakhpur.
Ex-gratia: The UP government has announced Rs 45 lakh compensation for families of farmers killed in Sunday's violence.
What triggered the Sunday clashes?
According to reports, the incident on Sunday was not isolated but the culmination of a series of incidents. Tension brewed last week after a video of Ajay Mishra Teni (who had visited Lakhimpur Kheri district earlier) warning protesters opposing the centre's three farm laws to mend their ways went viral. He also allegedly threatened the protesters that he will make them mend their ways if they didn't stop. The UP government on Monday grappled with the aftermath of violence. A case has been lodged against Union minister Ajay Mishra's son.
(With inputs from PTI)