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Farmers to intensify the agitation after Lakhimpur Kheri Incident

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Farmers Protesting

Farmer leaders stated on Saturday that they will continue their agitation against the three farm laws in the wake of violence in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district in which eight people were killed, including four farmers and a journalist.

They requested the immediate arrest of Ashish Mishra, the son of junior home minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, for his suspected involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.

"We demand the expulsion of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra and the immediate arrest of his son Ashish Mishra," Yogendra Yadav, a leader of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a collective of farmer organisations, said during a media briefing in New Delhi on Saturday.

Farmers from several states will assemble in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 12 to mourn the deaths of the four farmers and the journalist, according to SKM, which has been leading protests against the three central farm laws for over a year.

If their demands are not satisfied, SKM has threatened to block railway service on October 18 and to host a mahapanchayat (public meeting) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh's capital, on October 28.

Farm unions blame Ajay Kumar Mishra and his son Ashish, who has been charged with murder among others, for the violent incident last Sunday in which a convoy of cars belonging to the junior home minister ploughed through farmers coming from a demonstration.

SKM's declaration came on the same day that Uttar Pradesh police interrogated the minister's son, who had not been arrested as of the time this report was filed. The minister and his son have both denied any involvement.

"This incident has totally revealed the character of the Union government, the Uttar Pradesh govt, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," Yadav stated. "Even though there is clear proof of such a big murder and the involvement of BJP leaders in it, the BJP is unwilling to take any action against its leaders and goons. The BJP has clearly resorted to violence after losing ground in the face of this historic farm movement."

Farmers have been protesting the three new agriculture laws that attempt to liberalise farm trade in the country for over a year.

One of the laws permits large corporations and supermarkets to purchase produce from farmers outside of the regulated, state-supported wholesale marketplaces. The second law permits private traders to stockpile food, while the third law establishes a framework for contract farming.

The government claims that the changes are required to increase investment and agricultural incomes, while farm unions maintain that the new laws would put them at the mercy of large corporations.

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