Eight people including four farmers died in violence that broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday after a protest to block UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to Banbirpur village, a senior police officer at police headquarters in Lucknow said.
Violence and arson broke out after eight people were feared dead when a jeep allegedly ran over protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday afternoon, police officials said.
In a tweet, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait claimed that the farmers were attacked when they were returning after staging a protest against the Centre’s new farm laws. He also alleged that people in the convoy opened fire.
He further claimed that some people died and many were injured in the incident. Tikait said that he was going to Lakhimpur Kheri and would be likely to reach by midnight.
Taking serious cognisance of the incident, UP police’s additional director general (ADG) (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar, along with other senior officials, have been rushed to the spot to control the situation.
Kumar, who was on the way to the spot, said he could confirm the deaths and the exact situation only after reaching the site. He said heavy police deployment had already been done in the Tikonia area to avert any further trouble.
Tikonia is nearly 70 kilometres from the Lakhimpur Kheri district headquarters and very close to the India-Nepal border.
A local police official said the violence broke out minutes ahead of UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to Banbirpur village under Tikonia police station limits. He said the incident took place on Tikonia-Banbirpur road when the farmers, who were agitating against the new farm laws and had blocked the road to oppose the deputy CM’s visit, got infuriated after two SUVs reportedly belonging to BJP workers hit them, leaving a number of farmers seriously injured.
He said the farmers in retaliation overturned and set on fire two SUVs, besides thrashing people in the convoy.
The deputy CM had to cancel his visit to Banbirpur village, where he was to inaugurate an annual wrestling competition, which is organised by Kheri MP and Union minister of state for home Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni in memory of his father late Ambika Prasad Mishra.
Following the incident, Congress general secretary and UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in a tweet, said: “How much hatred BJP harbours against farmers in the country? Don’t they have a right to live? If they raise their voices, then you will open fire on them? Run them over by vehicles? Enough is enough…This is the country of farmers, and not a fiefdom of BJP ideology…Farmers’ satyagrah will get stronger, farmers’ voice will get louder.”
The Samajwadi Party will send a delegation of party leaders to Lakhimpur Kheri to probe the incident.
Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet in Hindi said running over farmers who were peacefully protesting the farm law (three new central farm laws) by the son of a Union minister of state was inhuman and cruel…UP will not tolerate atrocities by arrogant BJP members…and if this state of affairs continue then in UP BJP members will not be able to travel in vehicles or get out of them.
In another tweet Akhilesh said that he could speak a bit to the seriously hurt farmer leader Tejender Singh Virk…the government should give him best of medical treatment…and there’s only one demand— that the chief minister should resign.