LAKHIMPUR KHERI VIOLENCE AND KILLINGS: EXPLAINED

Uttar Pradesh: The violence that broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday resulted in 8 deaths and many casualties. 4 farmers were killed when a group of SUVs part of the convoy of Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra ran over a crowd of farmers. The farmers, later on, went into an agitation that was toned down with the negotiations done by farmers union leader Rakesh Tikait with the officials in the Uttar Pradesh government. Below is a fairly brief timeline on how the violence occurred and the reasons observed.

Call for protests

On Sunday, farm leaders call for protest in the UP district of Lakhimpur Kheri on the visit of Deputy Chief Minister Kesav Prasad Maurya, who was supposed to be greeted by the Minister of State, Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni. Farmers gathered in Lakhimpur Kheri peacefully to organize a march. The objective of the protest was to stop the Union Minister’s convoy and a show of black flags as a part of the farmer’s resistance against the Farm Bills of 2020.

 

 Minister’s convoy hits farmers

When the convoy of the minister comprising of SUVs was crossing Tikonia, a panchayat in Lakhimpur Kheri, one of the SUVs (later found to be a Mahindra Thar) hit the marching farmers and ran over the crowd. As per later videos and records released, it was found to be that the SUV was at a high speed when it hit the farmers.

In the impact, 4 farmers are killed mowed down by the convoy

Video of the incident released

​​A video that was in slow motion was released on social media, and was shared by various leaders including Priyanka Gandhi. The actual video in higher resolution, without slow-motion, was released on Wednesday which clearly showed the SUV driving over the crowd in high speed (presumably 60-70 km/hr, reports media).

 

Claim that son of Union Minister drove the SUV

Farmers who were present at the incident, along with those injured by the hit, claimed that the person who lead the convoy was son of the Union Minister Ajay Mishra, Ashish Mishra who is an emerging politician in UP. Ashish Mishra denied all allegations.

Local journalist killed

A journalist was also killed in the attack when he was reporting for a local media channel. Raman Kashyap, 35, was present at the march reporting on the protests. His body was found hours later. His father claims he was killed when the convoy ran over the crowd. However, colleagues claim he died after the attack from the farmers.

 

Farmers retaliated

Soon after the incident took place, farmers allegedly set fire to two of the SUVs. During the retaliation, BJP workers were attacked and three of them were killed. Videos being shared widely by BJP workers and supporters claim farmers lynching a BJP worker in retaliation

Farmers mobilize in protest, with bodies on display

 After the incident, farmers around the area and those present in the violence protest for the resignation of minister Ajay Mishra. They refused to cremate the bodies of those killed by the speeding convoy. Protests toned down after Rakesh Tikait announces promises from the UP government. The government promised a judicial enquiry and 45 lakhs compensation.

Opposition leaders take up the issue

All opposition parties – AAP, Congress, BSP, SP, CPI(M), CPI, TMC, etc take up the issue. Priyanka Gandhi left for Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday night and was stopped by UP police. She rages at the police, of which, videos are released showing the Congress leader asking for a warrant. She is later detained. Punjab leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was detained after a protest for the release of Ms. Gandhi. SP leader Akhilesh Yadav was detained after a protest outside his residence along with supporters. AAP leaders were also detained on their way to the site.

 

Police releases FIR, claims Ashish Mishra’s presence

UP police lodges an FIR after pressure from the opposition leaders. The document claims the active presence of Ashish Mishra in the site of violence. It claims he was seated on the left side of the convoy that ran over the farmers. It also states the son of the minister raised gunfire at the farmers before the incident. A farmer – Gurvinder Singh dies because of the firing. FIR claims he later escaped from the car and hid in the sugar cane field.

On Wednesday, Congress leaders visit homes of deceased

On Wednesday Rahul Gandhi, Charanjit Singh Channi, Bhupesh Baghel, and K C Venugopal were denied clearance to UP. Leaders announce 50 lakh compensation for deceased farmers’ families. Later, they land in Lucknow from Delhi to first visit Priyanka Gandhi at detention in Sitapur. Later they arrive at Lakhimpur Kheri at the home of 19-year-old Lovepreet Singh who was killed in the violence. Crowds gathered around the house. They later visit the home of deceased journalist Raman Kashyap.

 

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