Updated: October 5, 2021 7:23:40 am
Within hours of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, small jathas led by farm union leaders from Punjab left for ground zero in Uttar Pradesh to demand justice for the victims. Across Punjab on Monday, dharnas were held outside DC offices in all 23 districts, apart from protests over the issue being staged at 108 pakka morcha sites in the state.
Effigies of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra were also burnt by farmers at hundreds of places. At many places, effigies were first tied to tractors and then burnt. Memorandums addressed to the President were given by farmer unions to the DCs across Punjab.
BKU (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said: “We want MoS, Home, Ajay Mishra to be arrested as he was the one who instigated farmers. He should be removed from his post.”
He added, “BJP continues to defame Punjabi farmers as separatists. This is their dirty game and they will never succeed in spreading this venom among the farmers.”
“We will continue protesting against BJP leaders. Our brothers lost their lives, it will not go in vain. Though few demands have been met under pressure by the UP government, but this incident will be remembered forever. The whole farming community will remember the atrocities committed on innocent farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri,” said Jasveer Singh, from BKU (Ugrahan).
Bar associations of Punjab also supported the farmers and condemned the incident.
Meanwhile, Punjab Kisan Union chief Ruldu Singh was among the first to leave for UP with a small group of protesters, followed by Buta Singh Burjgill, president BKU (Dakaunda) and Raminder Singh from Kirti Kisan Union and few others.
Several union groups marched ahead despite UP Police urging Punjab chief secretary not to allow people from the state to move towards Lakhimpur Kheri.
“All of us left in small groups of not more than 10-15 persons each. The idea was to demand justice for the families and also to maintain communal harmony. This was the reason that we were going to the spot…Most of our demands have been met except the arrest of Union minister in question. They have sought one week’s time. If it doesn’t happen, we will plan something accordingly,” said Buta Singh Burjgill, who could not reach the spot as he was stopped at Hapur by UP police.
He added, “UP Police was very apprehensive about Punjab farmers entering their state and stopped our people at many places. They were even checking buses to see if someone from Punjab was travelling in those buses and for what purpose.”
Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda) said,“The area where Sikh farmers have been killed is predominantly a Brahmin area. Our focus is to maintain communal harmony. Farmers should support each other irrespective of religion, caste or creed. This is the message with which Punjab farmers went to UP. “He said that theekri pehras outside “our tents at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur” are also being held. “You never know BJP men can strike us here as well. Theekri pehras will continue for the time being,” he added.
Ruldu Singh, who had started overnight and entered UP, could not reach the spot of the violence. He said, “They cannot stop us. I am in shock as the loss to farmers’ families is unbearable. We are all united. Religion, caste cannot divide us…”
Dr Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union, said, “Farmers from Punjab have gone in small groups…Our main focus, however, was to protest within the Punjab at district headquarters. Now, under pressure they (UP government) had to agree to most of our demands. But the persons killed can’t be brought back.” Jagmohan Singh Patiala added, “Statement of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and later this incident describes the mindset of BJP leaders. We are alert because we have protest dharnas in Haryana.”
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