The bodies of four farmers who, according to their supporters, were crushed by a car in a minister’s convoy, were kept in glass cases this morning at Lakhimpur Kheri, a four-hour drive from Lucknow.
The farmers say that the car was being driven by the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra. He has vehemently denied the allegations.
The Uttar Pradesh government has said that the family of each farmer who died will be given Rs. 45 lakhs; So that those responsible for the death can be arrested as soon as possible. A former high court judge will investigate the violence in which eight people were killed after an angry mob erupted in violence and set several cars on fire. Besides farmers, four others killed were a journalist and three were reportedly BJP supporters.
The violence is the worst since farmers launched a protest a year ago against three new agriculture laws introduced by the Centre, which farmers say are designed to help corporates and go against their core interests . The Center denies this and says that these apprehensions are false.
In Lakhimpur Kheri yesterday, hundreds of farmers were called to a protest site when a car, consisting of three vehicles, rammed into Mr. Mishra’s convoy. The minister later said that the driver of the car, who was not his son, lost control after pelting stones at him. The minister’s son also repeated the same allegation.
Police have banned gatherings, cut mobile internet services, sent additional forces and detained several opposition figures, including Priyanka Gandhi from the Congress party, at the scene. Speaking exclusively to NB, Ms Gandhi said she was arrested, not detained. “I am arrested but the minister has not resigned, his son has not been arrested,” he said, alleging “complete collapse of democracy”.
Dozens of police detained Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav outside his house in the state capital Lucknow.
According to some reports, dozens of opposition supporters protested in the city and set at least one police vehicle on fire.