Farmers to open new front against Modi govt in Lakhimpur Kheri, press for minister Ajay Mishra’s sacking

Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which expects lakhs of farmers to assemble in Lakhimpur Kheri on August 18, has released a seven-point charter of demands it expects the government to fulfil

Representative photo (File)
Representative photo (File)

NH Political Bureau

Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) – a conglomerate of various farmers’ unions which spearheaded the one year long protest against the three farm laws, leading to their repeal by the Modi government in November 2021 – has given a clarion call to farmers to reach Lakhimpur Kheri in large numbers on August 18 for a 75-hour-long mega protest against Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni.

Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish, is the prime accused in the killing of four farmers and a journalist in Lakhimpur Kheri in October 2021.

SKM had alleged that Ajay Mishra hatched a conspiracy to kill the farmers who were staging a protest against the farm laws, and allegedly mowed them down with a vehicle.

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court recently denied bail to Ashish Mishra, observing that “he is politically so influential that he can affect the trial”.

Talking to National Herald, Hannan Mollah, AIKS general secretary said that farmers from 20 states are expected to join the mega protests to demand Teni’s removal from Modi’s Council of Ministers.

To finalize the preparation for the same, an online meeting of key SKM leaders was convened by its UP chapter, he said.

“Arrangements have been made in advance. Farmers’ bodies from Punjab and Haryana have started langars already...Lakh of farmers will join the protests,” said Mollah.

SKM aims to reorganize farmers and draw their attention towards their ‘betrayal’ by the Modi govt, vengeful arrest of farmers and other issues including the Electricity Amendment Bill, said a political observer.

“You can call it the first show of strength by the SKM after farmers had returned home from Delhi,” he added.

SKM has released a seven-point charter of demands:

1. Ajay Mishra should be removed as Union minister and sent to jail for allegedly hatching a conspiracy.

2. ‘Innocent farmers’ arrested by the UP government should be released and compensated.

3. Recommendations of Swaminathan Commission must be implemented for all crops.

4. Committee formed by the government on MSP be should be dissolved.

5. Cases against farmers should be withdrawn and Electricity Amendment Bill must be struck down.

6. A complete loan waiver package must be announced for farmers.

7. Government must pay dues of sugarcane farmers.

In a statement, the SKM said a permanent protest would be organised at Lakhimpur Kheri against Teni.

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said SKM leaders will meet farmers who were arrested on ‘fake’ charges. He said SKM will keep pressing for the removal of Teni from the Union Council of Ministers till it was done.

Observers believe SKM’s decision to open a new front in Lakhimpur Kheri assumes significance as it is considered a stronghold of Ajay Mishra.

The minister, who has been keep a low profile due to the controversy, had defended his son immediately after the incident. He had claimed that his son was innocent and he would quit as a minister if anyone could produce even a single shred of evidence against him.

Mishra reportedly enjoys ‘impunity’ due to his proximity to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and was not removed as a minister despite tremendous pressure from the farmers.

Moreover, his position seems to have got consolidated after the BJP won all 8 assembly seats in Lakhimpur Kheri in the UP assembly polls held earlier this year, said an observer.

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