UP: In Tikunia Mahapanchayat and Poorvanchal, Farmers Threaten to Relaunch Stir
Lucknow: The farmers’ movement is gradually regaining momentum once again in Uttar Pradesh with the government’s -- Centre and state -- failure to meet to implement assurances given to farmer unions’ demands on the Lakhimpur violence as well as after the farmers’ stir was called off last year.
Two huge protest actions, attended by hundreds of farmers, were held on Monday in Lakhimpur Kheri as well as in Poorvanchal region.
In Tikunia (Lakhimpur Kheri), hundreds of farmers gathered for a Mahapanchayat and heard their leaders reaffirm that the farmers have no choice but to relaunch their agitation against Yogi Adityanath-led state government over the killing of farmers on October 3 last year.
In Poorvanchal or eastern UP, on a call given by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), farmers under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union, All India Kisan Union, All India Kisan Majdoor Sabha held a protest dharna at the tehsil complex in all the districts, including Varanasi, Prayagraj, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Ballia, Mau, Deoria, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, and submitted a memorandum to the President of India through the administration calling for the implementation of all demands that were accepted by the Narendra Modi government when farmers’ stir was called off
Lakhimpur Protest in Tikunia on May 12
Addressing the Mahapanchayat in Tikunia, Gurnam Singh Chaduni of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni faction), said farmers from across the country will gather in Tikunia on May 12 to protest against the highhandedness of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni, his son Ashish Mishra and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP).
"We are giving enough time to the state government and the local administration to take the mass murder case in the right direction,” said Chaduni, adding that his union would hold an agitation on the issues pertaining to the law on MSP (minimum support price) guarantee, compensation to the peasants during incident and safety of eyewitnesses in the violent incident that saw farmers being run over by a vehicle allegedly driven by the Teni’s son, Ashish.
The BKU (Chaduni faction) president also accused SKM for their “wavering interest” while handling the case. Incidentally, Chaduni was suspended by SKM due to differences over forming a political party to fight the recently held Punjab Assembly elections.
“The way SKM handled the case so far is very disappointing and farmers are also unhappy. They (SKM representatives) had promised to look after the cases of the farmers and ensure that all 18 injured peasants get Rs 10 lakh as compensation. But they forgot their promise. We appeal to the SKM to pursue the case sincerely and appoint lawyers to contest the cases of the four farmers who have been jailed without any reason and also sincerely pursue the case against Ashish,” he added.
Since a new government has assumed office in UP, farmers’ representative bodies would soon meet the Chief Minister and put forth their pending demands, the farmer leader said.
During the Mahapanchayat, a key issue raised by almost every speaker was the attack on an eyewitness to the violence after the Assembly election results. Diljot, one of the prime witnesses in the Lakhimpur Kheri case, was brutally attacked and was told that he would be “taken care” of now, as BJP had won the state elections. "It was the police's responsibility to ensure the security of the witnesses but they failed to protect," he alleged.
Chaduni asked farmers to fight to get the bail cancelled for Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni's son, Ashish, who is the key accused in mowing down four farmers and a journalist. He also requested the farmers to contribute to ensure that bail is given to the four accused farmers lodged in jail.
“It is an open and shut case that Ashish Mishra had crushed the farmers to death under his car owned by his minister father Ajay Mishra Teni. The special investigation team didn’t plead the case well and so Ashish was granted bail. He should be in jail. The SKM forgot its promise to ensure that the accused would be punished soon. We will take direct action now if any witness in the Tikunia case is attacked again,'' Aman Deep Singh Sandhu, district president of BKU (Chaduni faction), alleged while addressing the gathering.
Gurusevak Singh, Balkar Singh and Umesh Verma of Chaduni faction have threatened to lay siege to the office of district magistrate in Kheri on May 12 if the government fails to take steps to take action against the accused and ensure safety to the witnesses.
"We held the Mahapanchayat to garner support for our four farmer brothers lodged in jail. The government had earlier promised that there would be no case against farmers, but they did not fulfil it. Now everyone is getting bail except innocent farmers," said Singh.
FARMERS UP IN ARMS IN PURVANCHAL
On a call given by SKM, the farmers under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union, All India Kisan Union, All India Kisan Majdoor Sabha on Monday held a protest dharna at the tehsil complex in all the districts of Purvanchal including Varanasi, Prayagraj, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Ballia, Mau, Deoria, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, and submitted a memorandum to the President of India through the administration calling for the implementation of all demands that were accepted by the Modi government at the Centre when farmers’ stir was called off.
The memorandum of demands sought immediate formation of the committee for MSP procurement, withdrawing of all cases lodged against farmers during the protest, payment of compensation to farmers who lost their lives during the protest, removing the father of the main accused of Lakhimpur incident, Ajay Mishra Teni as Union minister, getting bail of his son Ashish cancelled etc.
The SKM called upon farmers to launch a massive movement between April 11 and 17 for a guarantee of procurement of all crops from farmers at an MSP based on the MS Swaminathan Commission formula. They also demanded reduction in the prices of diesel, fertilisers and seeds by half.
Addressing farmers, All India Kisan Majdoor Sabha (AIKMS) general secretary Ashish Mital said it was unfortunate that the Modi government was now backing out from its written agreement with agitating farmers’ organisations.
“Nothing worthwhile seems to have been done towards setting up a committee to look into legislative support to the MSP regime, cases registered against farmers have not been withdrawn, compensation is being denied to those killed during the year-long agitation and on the top of it all law is dragging its feet against perpetrators of the massacre at Lakhimpur Kheri,” he added.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.