Farmer leaders on Monday renewed their demand for the sacking of Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, as they observed the first anniversary of the Tikunia violence in which his son is the main accused.
Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, said the families of farmers who were mowed down by a car in Lakhimpur Kheri were yet to get justice and that nothing can be more insulting than that the “culprit” remained a member of the Union council of ministers.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said, “We have not forgotten the Kheri case nor will the government be allowed to forget it. Nothing short of Ajay Mishra’s dismissal will be acceptable to us.”
He was addressing a gathering of over 600 people at an event at a gurudwara in Kaudiyala Ghat, where tributes were paid to the four farmers who were killed in the violence.
Mishra’s son Ashish was arrested after a car mowed down the farmers who were protesting in Lakimpur Kheri’s Tikunia against the visit of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
In the subsequent violence, two BJP workers and a driver were also killed.
Tikait said they will place the demand for Mishra’s sacking during the proposed nationwide agitation of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on November 26.
“Protests will be held in all state capitals during which the demand for the dismissal of Ajay Mishra and also the release of four farmers lodged in jails will be raised prominently,” Tikait said.
These four farmers were arrested in connection with the retaliatory violence in which the BJP workers were killed on October 3 last year.
Tikait also extended monetary help of Rs 2 lakh to each of the families of the four farmers lodged in jails.
The SKM is standing along with the farmers, Tikait said, and appealed to them to raise their demands in a peaceful manner during the November 26 protests.
Protests were also held in Punjab’s Phagwara, where farmers demanded the withdrawal of “cooked up” cases registered against them during their stir against the now-repealed agri laws, besides the sacking of Mishra.
Members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Doaba), led by the outfit’s vice president Kirpal Singh Moosapur and general secretary Satnam Singh Sahni, staged a demonstration at Sugar Mill crossing on the national highway and raised slogans against the central government and Mishra.
They also submitted a memorandum, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to Phagwara Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Nayan Jassal demanding Mishra’s dismissal.
Meanwhile, the Congress too attacked the Modi government over the continuation of Mishra as a minister.
“One year has passed, but the martyr farmers of Lakhimpur Kheri have not received justice. Reason is the same — BJP, as always, has been protecting criminals,” Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.
He said the farmers’ agitation was a big inspiration for the Congress when it decided to undertake the Bharat Jodo Yatra. “This struggle will not end without ensuring justice to the farmers,” he added.
AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the “farmer massacre” exposed the anti-farmer face of the BJP government.
“Despite the agitation, neither did the farmers get the law on Minimum Support Price nor justice for the martyred farmers,” she said.
The party’s General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh said, “Nothing can be more insulting than that the farmers agitating against the black laws were deliberately killed while the culprit remains a member of the Union council of ministers.”
There was clear evidence that the minister’s son was involved in the killing, he alleged.