Internet services snapped; Akhilesh on dharna, leaders denied entry in Kheri
Government has allowed only Bharatiya Kisan union leader Rakesh Tikait to visit the area while leaders of other political parties were stopped from entering the Lakhimpur district
A police jeep was set on fire near the place where Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav sat on dharna along with hundreds of his supporters after being prevented from going to Lakhimpur Kheri.
Akhilesh sat in protest on the road outside his Vikramaditya Marg residence here on Monday.
A police jeep, which was parked on the same road about 200 metres from Akhilesh's residence, was set on fire.
Earlier, Akhilesh came out of his house around 9 a.m., but was informed by the police that he would not be allowed to go to Lakhimpur Kheri.
As SP workers shouted slogans and became aggressive, Akhilesh asked them to show patience and squatted on the road.
Earlier, a large number of policemen and paramilitary forces had been deployed outside the residence of the SP leader. Barricades had been erected to prevent traffic movement.
Meanwhile, even as Akhilesh sat on dharna.
Internet services were suspended and political leaders were barred from entering Lakhimpur Kheri where nine people including four farmers were killed and several others injured in a deadly escalation of their year-long campaign against controversial agriculture laws.
A police officer Arun Kumar Singh told this reporter that prohibitory orders have been clamped in Lakhimpur Kheri and educational institutions have been closed. The markets and other business establishments will remain closed today as people have been asked to stay indoors.
The farmers had gathered at Tikonia in Lakhimpur Kheri district, 200 km south-east of Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh where junior home affairs minister Ajay Mishra and the state’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya were due to address a meeting .
Tikonia is five kms from Indo-Nepal border.
Satnam Singh, a farmer leader said that when they were showing black flag to the minister, a car in which son of Union Minister was sitting, ran over protesting farmers. Two died on the spot, and other two succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. As we chased that car, it overturned and fell into a roadside ditch.
Minister Mishra denied that his son was present at the spot when the incident took place. “Three BJP workers were in the car and they along with my driver were killed. They were beaten to death by the farmers. My son was not even present in the spot. A malicious campaign has been launched against us,” he said in a statement.
The minister blamed the terror outfits Babbar Khalsa behind this incident. “The incident was orchestrated to malign my image,” he said.
FIRs and counter FIRs have been lodged by the farmers and the minister. District Magistrate Dr Arvind Chaurasia said a FIR has been registered against 14 people, including Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home, in connection with the death of farmers. Case registered under 302 (punishment for murder),120B (Criminal conspiracy), and 147 (rioting) of the IPC on the complaint of the farmers. “Similarly a counter FIR has been lodged against the farmers by the BJP leaders too,” he said
The official said that the farmers are demanding action against minister, compensation to the family of farmers who died and a judicial probe into the incident. “We are in touch with the farmer leaders are trying to reach to a conclusion,” he said.
Government has allowed only Bharatiya Kisan union leader Rakesh Tikait to visit the area while leaders of other political parties were stopped from entering the Lakhimpur district. All the entry points of the District are sealed. Trucks have been parked blocking the road.
Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi has asked Lucknow airport not to allow Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder S. Randhawa to land at the airport. They were supposed to reach Lucknow by their state aircrafts on Tuesday morning and were scheduled to go to Lakhimpur.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has been detained in Sitapur, 80 kms from Lucknow when she was on her way to Lakhimpur. "I was going to meet the families of the victims. I am going to pacify the deceased families. I was going to share the pain of the victims. But I am stopped from ging there,” she said media at Hargoan in Sitapur where she is detained.
Last week farmers staged nation-wide protest that marked the first anniversary of the implementation of the Farms Laws stressing on deregulating the agriculture sector. The farmers claim that law was against farm sector and was an attempt to allow private sector to take over farming. Thousands of farmers have been camping at outskirts of New Delhi since late November demanding that government should repeal this act.
The incident occurred five months ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh where Bharatiya Janata Party is in power.
(With inputs from IANS)