NEW DELHI, Oct 4 — At least five people, including two farmers, have been killed and a dozen people injured in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, said an official.
The incident took place in the city of Lakhimpur when farmers were protesting against three farm laws ahead of an event which was to be attended by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra.
Widespread violence was witnessed after the union minister’s son Ajay Mishra allegedly ran his car over the protesting farmers. Angry farmers allegedly set two vehicles on fire.
Arvind Chaurasia, the district magistrate of Lakhimpur, has confirmed the incident.
“Five people were killed in the incident. Two farmers were crushed to death by a car,” Chaurasia told Anadolu Agency.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Union, a body of farmers, claimed that at least four farmers have died.
“The farmers were killed after Ashish Mishra… allegedly ran his car over the protesting farmers,” Guramneet Mangal, a farmer leader, told Anadolu Agency.
The farmers union also claimed that a farmer died after being fired upon by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader. They demanded that the union minister be immediately dismissed from the council of ministers.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has condemned the incident. He said the one who is silent even after seeing this inhumane massacre is already dead, but we will not let this sacrifice go in vain. “We support the farmers protesting peacefully for a just cause,” he said.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted: “Crushing of the farmers who were peacefully opposing the agricultural laws by the son of the Minister of State for Home of the BJP government is a very inhumane and cruel act.”
Uttar Pradesh is ruled by Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath. The state is going to the polls next year.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi’s borders since November last year.
They are demanding the repeal of three agricultural laws enacted by the government.
Farmers fear that the laws will end the Minimum Support Price system — the minimum or guaranteed price at which the government purchases certain major crops like wheat, paddy, and soybeans from them.
But the government is touting these laws as major agricultural reforms.
While several rounds of talks with the government have fallen through, farmer leaders insist on the total repeal of the laws. The movement, one of the biggest challenges Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced since coming to power in 2014, has also attracted international support.