Six dead after BJP workers clash with protesting farmers in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri
Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son accused of running his vehicle over the crowd; Minister denies allegations; Opposition slams UP government, blames BJP for violence
At least three farmers were feared dead after a clash with BJP leaders and workers in Uttar Pardesh’s Lakhimpur-Kheri on Sunday.
The farmers were protesting against farm laws and Uttar Pradesh’s Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya who was scheduled to attend a programme in Tikunia.
The farmers, holding black flags, blocked the temporary helipad where Maurya’s chopper was to land.
According to media reports, the agitating farmers waved black flags at BJP leaders and this led to the clash. Vehicles in the leaders’ convoy were rammed into the crowd, killing at least two persons and injuring more than a dozen. IANS reported that unidentified persons also opened fire at the farmers.
Farmers alleged that the Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish was in one of the vehicles. The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) also alleged that the son of the Union minister ran over the protesting farmers.
However, speaking with news agency PTI, Ajay Mishra claimed that neither his son nor he were present at the site when the incident happened.
The incident has drawn sharp reaction from opposition parties and farmer bodies.
Infuriated farmers set three jeeps on fire and beat up a driver.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) spokesperson Jagtaar Singh Bajwa, said, “In Lakhimpur Kheri’s Tikunia area, farmers were protesting peacefully. They were crushed under the wheels. This is proof of an authoritarian government, that people do not have the democratic right to protest peacefully.”
Earlier in the day, thousands of farmers had marched to Tikunia and staged protests against the Uttar Pradesh government.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya was scheduled to reach Banvir village to attend a programme organised by Union Minister Ajay Mishra.
However, farmers occupied the helipad site at Maharaja Agrasen Sports Ground, where his helicopter was to land.
Following this, the Deputy Chief Minister's programme was changed and he reached Lakhimpur by road from Lucknow.
Angry farmers in Tikunia protested by uprooting the hoardings welcoming him.
The farmers came from adjoining villages like Palia, Bhira, Bijua, Khajuria and Sampurna Nagar with black flags in their hands.
Meanwhile, Ajay Mishra told PTI over the phone that three BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death by "some elements" in the protesting farmers after a car in which they were travelling turned turtle following pelting of stones.
Mishra said two farmers died after coming under the car. He said the incident happened when some BJP workers were going to receive Maurya, who had come to attend an event at Lakhimpur Kheri.
"Two farmers and four passengers of cars stopped by farmers have died. The death count stands at six," said the official.
"A cavalcade was going, which was shown black flags (by farmers). The cavalcade was moving as per routine. When two to three vehicles of the cavalcade were left, a vehicle of it started turning upside down, and two farmers came under it, and they died," the official added.
"After this, the vehicle which was behind it was damaged. Passengers and the drivers were brought out of the vehicles and they were beaten to death. In all, six persons have died. This consists of two farmers and four people who were beaten to death by farmers," the UP government official said.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar has reached the spot and the situation is now under control, he added.
A heavy deployment of forces has been made in the area and police from adjoining districts is also being called in to control the situation.
(With inputs from PTI)