BAREILLY: Cars that were part of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra Teni’s convoy allegedly mowed down four farmers during a black flag protest at Tikunia in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday afternoon — the farmers alleged the minister’s son Ashish Mishra was leading the convoy, which Teni denied.Retaliation was swift and the angry farmers reportedly beat four BJP workers to death before setting their vehicles on fire.No FIR had been registered in either case till the time of filing this report.
“Eight people have died — four were farmers and four BJP workers.Senior officials are working out what further action will be taken in the case.
It is likely that the FIRs will be registered from both sides.A transparent investigation will be conducted.The situation is peaceful and under our control,” Nighasan sub-divisional magistrate Om Prakash Gupta told TOI.
Three companies of Police Armed Constabulary have been sent to the area and internet services, locals said, have been suspended.ADG (law and order) Prashant Kumar had left for the village along with IG (Lucknow range) Laxmi Singh .
“The situation is peaceful and under control,” Nighasan SDM Om Prakash Gupta said.
The protest goes back to a statement allegedly made by Teni at a public meeting at Sampoornanagar in Lakhimpur Kheri last week, a purported video of which had been doing the rounds, in which he is heard saying, with reference to the farmers’ protest, “Fix yourselves or face me.I will fix you in a matter of minutes.I am not just a minister or an MLA or an MP.Those who know me from before I became a legislator would also know I never retreat from challenges.”
Bharatiya Sikh Sangathan president Jasbir Singh Virk said farmers were ready to stage a black flag protest at the Maharaja Agrasen Sports Ground helipad when Teni and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya got there to address an event on Sunday.
“But they didn’t arrive, and the farmers learnt they had changed their plan and were taking the road.My farmers saw it as a success and were marching back,” he added in a video statement.
The CM said, “Senior officials including ADG law and order, IG are investigating the incident from the spot and controlling the situation.
Action will be taken against whoever is found guilty.People are requested to stay at home and help the administration in maintaining peace in the area.They should wait for the investigation report before reaching a conclusion”.
One of the protesters, Gagan Chattha, told TOI, “It was a narrow road where we were protesting.Teni’s son arrived in a vehicle followed by two other SUVs.When a few farmers waved black flags at his vehicle, his car sped up and another deliberately ran over the farmers who were doing so.Many of us jumped out of its path — the vehicle ran over almost every person on the 200-m stretch.”
Teni didn’t respond to TOI’s calls for a comment.Earlier in the evening, he denied all allegations in an interview with a news channel.
He said that “anti-social elements among the farmers” had started pelting stones at BJP workers, a vehicle’s driver died and his vehicle turned turtle on farmers, killing two on the spot.“Then, the farmers beat four BJP workers to death and set the vehicles on fire.The farmers who died were from Nanpara in Bahraich, not even from Lakhimpur Kheri.
That indicates it was a planned act.Anti-social elements were hiding among farmers”.
At least two farmers who died were not from Bahraich, TOI confirmed — Nachattar Singh, 60, from Lakhimpur Kheri and Lovepreet Singh, 20, from Chokdha farm in Lakhimpur Kheri’s Majhgai.Gurpej Singh, 26, also an eyewitness, told TOI, “We had blocked the road when the minister’s vehicles ran over us farmers.I managed to get out of the way but my nephew Lovepreet couldn’t.He died.A few metres ahead, the vehicle was stopped and the minister’s son Monu (Ashish) Mishra stepped out, pistol in hand, and managed to escape with the help of policemen.” The two other farmers who died were Daljeet Singh, 35, and Gurwinder Singh, 19, farmer leaders told TOI.
Where they were from could not be confirmed.
When the vehicles were stopped, the farmers caught the rest of the party workers in the cars.“We saved three men and handed them over to police after questioning.All three were from Allahabad and said they work for minister Teni,” said Chattha.Another protester, Vikramjeet Singh, told TOI, “Terai Kisan Mahasabha president Tejinder Singh Virk was seriously injured in the head and legs.He has been hospitalised and is critical.”
Additional SP Arun Kumar Singh told the farmers, “My farmer brothers, I promise you that action will be taken against whoever is responsible”.
Teni denied the allegations against his son in the interview, saying, “My son was at the venue since 11am, where many government officials were also present.He didn’t leave the venue for a second.
At the wheel of my vehicle was a driver and in the car were three party workers.They died a tragic death … I have video evidence to prove my son was not there and he will join any investigation needed”.
(With inputs from Aakash Ahuja in Rudrapur)
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