An uneasy calm prevailed in Lakhimpur Kheri on Monday, a day after eight people were killed in violent clashes during a farmers’ protest.
There was heavy police deployment at most of the crossings in the district, around 150 km from Uttar Pradesh’s capital city, Lucknow.
Most of the shops remained shut, except those dealing in medicines and other essential goods.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC are in force in the district and internet services have also been discontinued to maintain law and order in the wake of the clash on Sunday.
Due to the restrictions, fewer people were seen in public places in Lakhimpur Kheri in the morning but as the day passed, more people stepped outside and gathered at roadside shops. Not many vehicles were seen on the roads but public transport plied normally.
En route Tikonia, the site of Sunday’s violence, the roads were abuzz with people, mostly farmers and officials, coming from and going towards the area, which is around 50 km from the district headquarters.
Locals and officials refrained from talking when asked to comment on the incident that garnered national attention.
This was the bloodiest clash since the farmers’ protest over the Centre’s agriculture laws began last year.
Four of the dead were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
The others were BJP workers and their driver, allegedly pulled out of the vehicles and then lynched by the protesters. Two cars were set on fire.
Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, who is a two-time BJP MP from Kheri, has denied allegations by the farmers’ unions that his son was in one of the cars.