In an unfortunate incident, eight people including four farmers and four BJP workers died in the violence that erupted during the farmers' protest in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. Meanwhile, a journalist identified as Ratan Kashyap also lost his life during the incident.
The farmers had gathered in Lakhimpur Kheri's Tikunia to protest against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni's visit to Banbirpur.
Ajay Mishra was to be felicitated at a prize distribution ceremony at a school in Tikunia. Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya was the chief guest at the event. He was also slated to inaugurate development projects.
The protesting farmers were reportedly angry with the Union minister over his remarks during his visit to Lakhimpur Kheri on September 25 when he addressed a farmers' gathering in his Lok Sabha constituency.
Union minister Ajay Misra Teni was shown black flags during his visit by a group of farmers prompting him to warn them over 'unruly' behaviour during protests. The farmers have been angry with the minister since then.
On the day of the incident, the protesting farmers gheraoed a make-shift helipad, as a result of which Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya had to change his original plan and reach the venue by travelling by road.
Upon getting information on the change in plan, the protesting farmers then blocked the Tikunia-Banbirpur road. It was at this protest site that the violence took place that left eight people dead.
The farmers' bodies claimed that four farmers identified as Nakshatra Singh (55), Daljeet Singh (35), Lavepreet Singh (20) and Gurvendra Singh (18) died as vehicles mowed the protesters down on the Tikunia-Banbirpur road.
Four BJP workers who were travelling in a car were allegedly dragged out of the car and lynched by the protesters. A journalist working with a news channel who was covering the incident was reportedly hit by a speeding vehicle.
Claims and counterclaims
The protesting farmers alleged that Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni's son Ashish Mishra was in one of the vehicles that ran over the protesting farmers.
Ajay Misra Teni on the other hand denied his son's involvement in the incident. Both Teni and his son said they have proof of Ashish's innocence.
A murder case has been filed against Union Minister of State Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish for the alleged running of his Thar SUV over protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a status report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the FIR registered and arrests made in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
"We need to know who are the accused against whom you have registered FIR & whether you have arrested them or not," the Supreme Court said while hearing a plea filed in this case.
The apex court also clarified that it did not take up the Lakhimpur violence case suo motu cognisance as a plea was registered by two lawyers - Shiv Kumar Tripathi and C S Panda.
Allahabad High Court Justice (retd) Pradeep Kumar Srivastava has been appointed as a single-member Commission of enquiry with headquarters at Lakhimpur Kheri to probe the incident.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said that he will go on hunger strike on Friday if Ajay Mishra Teni's son Ashish Mishra is not arrested.