This should be the first case in the world of an official convoy of a minister of state in the central government – and that too in the home ministry, which is mandated to maintain law and order – crushing a group of protesting farmers, killing four of them. died and more than a dozen were injured. The last time a similar case caught the world’s attention was when three men in a van crushed pedestrians in a terrorist attack on London Bridge in 2017, killing at least eight people. What happened in Lakhimpur Kheri yesterday was no less. More terror than what happened in London. In fact, it was worse, as it was a terrorist act by state players. The concerned minister Ajay Mishra is directly responsible for what happened. Call it by its name – a cold-blooded terrorist attack.
About a week ago, the minister had openly threatened the peaceful protesting farmers. In a public speech, he called the farmers “cowards” and dared them to protest with a black flag in his presence so that he could teach them a lesson. He intimidated that none of them would “live” in his territory. Should the Union minister use such language? Yesterday, he was part of an official program involving the UP Chief Minister when farmers gathered to protest against his provocative speech. The official meeting was cancelled. The farmers were actually dispersing when the speeding cars in the government convoy, in which the farmers said the minister’s son was present, hit some of them. Retaliation ensued and four others were killed.
The Adityanath government has been forced to file an FIR against the minister’s son, in the face of a snowstorm protest movement by farmers not only in Lakhimpur but across India. However, no arrests have been made and no case has been registered against the minister. The demand of the farmers to sack the minister is justified and deserves support.
Equally objectionable is the lockdown imposed in the area and the arrest of opposition leaders who traveled to Lakhmipur Kheri to express sympathy and condolences to the families of those killed. This is a direct attack on democracy.
The truth is that the BJP’s style of governance is not based on the Constitution of India but on the politics of Partition and Dictatorship. BJP has tried to divide farmers in the name of religion, language and region. When she failed to do so, she used intimidation and false cases. When that too failed to demean the peasants, he explicitly gave his ministers a license to use the power of their government positions to mobilize an army of antisocial and criminals to attack the peasants directly. The Chief Minister of Haryana has also once followed Mishra’s statement of instigating and abusing the farmers. On the day farmers were being slaughtered and killed, Khattar was provoking his party men in Haryana to be armed. sticks To “answer” the farmers. “Don’t be afraid of going to jail,” he said, “you’ll be a leader that way.” Earlier a farmer was killed and several were injured when a Haryana government official was filmed saying that his men should “behead” protesting farmers. And yesterday Chief Minister Khattar was openly instructing his party men to commit violence against farmers. A case of inciting violence should be registered against him.
In any other country, in the wake of such brutal brutality as Lakhimpur, the head of the national government would have at least issued a statement of regret or condolence. Even Donald Trump, known for his racist bigotry, offered his condolences to the family of George Floyd, albeit four days after the brutal murder. But ‘Howdy Modi’ has kept silence, as if it has nothing to do with him or his government. The silence of Home Minister Amit Shah is equally shocking. Just a few days ago, these two leaders were praising the Adityanath government for its imaginary successes, but now they have nothing to say in the face of this shocking atrocity. This in itself is a message of support from the top leaders of the government.
The farmers of India have been fighting for their rights for the last ten months. The demand to consult him before making any law in his name and to withdraw three laws made in his name without his consent is important not only to protect his interests but also as a staple of democratic governance. His movement is historic in peaceful nature, unity and sacrifice. The BJP is getting frustrated in the face of increasing support to farmers and its political implications and influence. The gruesome killings in Lakhimpuri Kheri only underscore the need for every citizen of India to express solidarity with the farmers.
Brinda Karat is a politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former member of the Rajya Sabha.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the views of NB and NB assumes no responsibility or liability for the same.