The tragic incident at Lakhimpur Kheri which killed eight people, including four farmers, has been termed as blatant abuse of power. The timely intervention of the Supreme Court and the ultimatum from farmer leaders has compelled the state which was in denial mode, to order judicial probe into the incident.

The Uttar Pradesh government has announced that a single-member Commission of Enquiry, headed by retired High Court Judge Pradeep Kumar Srivastava will probe the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The brutality instead of intimidating farmers has pumped fresh blood into the farmers’ movement against Centre’s three new pro-corporate, anti-farmers agri-laws. The incident is also likely to impact the polity in the state and elsewhere.

However, in the latest development, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish appeared before UP Police for questioning on October 9 in connection with Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. Farmer leaders, who have termed the entire incident as a pre-planned conspiracy, are demanding that Union Minister Ajay Mishra should be removed and his son be arrested. Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders have announced to halt trains across India on October 18 and hold mahapanchayat on October 26. SKM leader Yogendra Yadav, at a press conference in New Delhi on October 9, announced, “Will burn effigies of PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah on Dusshera on October 15.”

Dharmendra Malik, Media Coordinator of BKU, while talking to Radiance said Bharatiya Kisan Union has given October 12 as deadline to remove Union Minister Ajay Mishra and arrest his son. If they don’t do so then the SKM has already announced further line of action and will intensify our protest. We welcome the intervention of the Supreme Court and it is a positive move. Such incidents will not intimidate us rather it will make our movement stronger and make our resolve firm against the farm laws.

Lucknow based political analyst Ram Dutt Tripathi, Editor of mediaswaraj.com, who has earlier served as senior BBC journalist, while reacting on the issue, told Radiance, “The incident of Lakhimpur Kheri reflects the arrogance of power of the government. People generally don’t like the arrogance of people in power. If the government does not dismiss the minister and arrest all those who are responsible for crushing farmers, there is possibility of confrontation between the government and farmers union and that confrontation would be unfortunate.”

The senior BBC journalist added, “The government wants to crush the movement but it would be better if the government invites the farmer leaders and opposition parties to hold talks. Rule of law should prevail and all those responsible should be punished. There is rural distress or the farmers distress due to nonavailability of fair price of their products. This agri-business issue should be addressed afresh and they should withdraw the agri-laws to deal with it.

“The government should try to build a consensus and act according to that consensus. Going ahead with any kind of confrontation may not be good for the country. The issue of farmers has earned wide support across the country, and instead of any kind of confrontation, the government should try to solve it,” said Tripathi.

In a statement issued to the press, the convenors of Sarvodaya Samaj India and Sarvodaya Samaj International has expressed deep concern on the recent spate of violence in Uttar Pradesh. It is a matter of deep concern that is now taking an ugly shape because of the use of violence and Sarvodaya Samaj believes that violence will not take us to solution but will only complicate the situation further. It is only through dialogue that these issues can be solved.

Jean Loui Batto and Rajagopal P.V, Convenors of Sarvodaya Samaj Global and India have said, “The farmer’s struggle cannot be suppressed through state violence. The farmers should also resist provocation that comes from the side of state. At this point, the Sarvodaya Samaj would like to call upon the state of India and request the concerned authorities to depute a high-level delegation to seriously engage with the farmers and develop a consensus a solution that addresses the interests of the farming communities of India.”

“Agitations and dialogue are common in democracy and the state needs to learn to engage in dialogue rather than suppressing the voices of the people. As an organisation, Sarvodaya Samaj aims to transform the society into a nonviolent society. This will only be possible when all parties believe in a nonviolence process to solve problems,” they added.

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