Since the dawn of human civilization, the farmers have been feeding us without ever complaining about the hardships they have to endure.
All they want in return is some amount of financial security as to the remuneration for their crops. Is that too much to ask? The new farm laws enacted by the center endanger that. The farmers feel the government has sold out their financial security to crony capitalists who would take advantage of the new laws and indulge in hoarding and predatory pricing thus denying them their legitimate remuneration.
This is the reason for their year-long protest but all their protest has fallen on deaf ears. Never have they felt so neglected and dejected as they feel today. This government has treated them so callously that it is beyond description. The insensitivity of this government has no parallel.
As part of their year long protest against the center’s farm laws, farmers were protesting in Tikonia, 70 km from Lakhimpur Kheri district headquarter close to India-Nepal border. Lakhimpur Kheri is the largest district of Uttar Pradesh. The cavalcade of MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was passing through Tikonia enroute to Banbirpur to receive deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya. Mr. Maurya was to land in Banbirpur to inaugurate an annual wrestling match held in memory of MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra’s late father Shri Ambika Prasad Mishra.
The farmers had allegedly blocked the road to Banbirpur as part of their protest and raised black flags in protest seeing the cavalcade of BJP workers led by Aashish Mishra. The ensuing tussle between the farmers and the security personnel of the minister’s son led to the death of four farmers and four members from Ashish Mishra’s entourage.
It is alleged that two SUVs of Ashish Mishra’s convoy rummaged through the protesting farmers ploughing right through and running over them killing three to four farmers instantly. This infuriated the farmers who in retaliation attacked the cavalcade. Following this, there was widespread violence and arson in the area. An FIR has been registered in the nearby police station.
The state administration headed by CM Yogi Aditynath immediately dispatched Prashant Kumar, additional director general (ADG) (Law and Order) to the spot to rein in things and ensure peace and not allow matters to escalate further. As a precautionary measure, internet services have been partially banned in Lakhimpur Kheri district following the violent incident.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader, Rakesh Tikait, has alleged that people in the convoy accompanying Ashis Mishra opened fire on the farmers who were returning after staging a protest against the center’s farm laws.
Following the reports of this incident, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made a dash for Lakhimpur Kheri to express her condolences to the bereaved family members of the dead farmers and to show her solidarity for the cause of the farmers. But she has been detained by the Uttar Pradesh police to prevent the situation from deteriorating further and spiralling out of control. She has been forced to rest in Sitapur at the guest house of second battalion of UP police.
Samajwadi Party’s national vice president Akhilesh Yadav is also supposed to be heading towards Lakhimpur to take stock of the situation which seems to become a battleground to score political brownie points.
AAP member Sanjay Singh is also headed for Lakhimpur. TMC smarting after the recent victory in Bengal assembly elections and Mamata Banerjee’s stupendous victory over her BJP rival in Bhabanipur bypoll have thrown in their hat too in the game. They want to take up the mantle of national opposition feeling that the INC because of infighting and leadership issues is unable to do so.
Thus the farmer protest has turned into a game of political brinkmanship between parties keeping the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in view. The cause of the farmers is lost in the process.