'Stop Trains': Indian Farmers Protest for Removal of Federal Minister Over Lakhimpur Kheri Violence
Farmers in India have been protesting for almost a year now, demanding the scrapping of three contentious farm laws passed by the BJP-led federal government last year. The government and the farmers' unions have held several rounds of talks. But none have borne fruit.
An umbrella body of multiple farmers' unions in India -- Samyukta Kisan Morcha
(SKM) - is organising a "rail roko" (stop the trains) agitation on Monday. The six-hour nationwide protest is scheduled to continue from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (Indian time).
It aims to press the Narendra Modi government to remove federal Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra over his son's alleged involvement in the recent Lakhimpur Kheri District violence in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The SKM and the farmers took to social media to draw support for the protest. They have urged everyone to unite and stop the trains, a general form of protest to draw maximum public and government attention.
In a tweet in Hindi, the organisation said: "India cannot run without farmers. The farmers of India are demanding justice for themselves".
A Twitter user said in a tweet: "Farmers demanding justice and honour for themselves".
"It is very apparent that with Ajay Mishra being the MoS for home affairs in the federal government, justice cannot be secured in this matter", SKM said in a statement issued on Sunday. "He promoted hatred, enmity, and communal disharmony between Hindus and Sikhs in his speeches. It is his vehicles that were used to mow down peaceful protesters. He harboured his son and accomplices even as the police were issuing summons to Ashish Mishra".
Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Kisan Union (farmers' body) leader and national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait
, while talking to the media, said that the agitation will take place at different places across various districts. "People across the country know where we shall stop trains", he said.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Police have said that action will be taken against those who participate in the protest called by the farmers' organisation.
Law enforcement said that Section 144 has been imposed in the district, while the National Security Act (NSA) will be imposed if anyone tries to disrupt normalcy.
Section 144, which generally prohibits public gatherings, is imposed in urgent cases of nuisance or danger of some event that has the potential to cause trouble or damage to human life or property.
As per local media reports, 30 locations have been affected and eight trains were regulated in the Northern Railway Zone of the country
On 3 October, a convoy of three vehicles drove through a crowd of protesting farmers in the village of Tikonia in Lakhimpur Kheri
in Uttar Pradesh.
After four farmers were mowed down by the minister's convoy, four others, including the minister's driver, two Bharatiya Janata Party workers, and a journalist, were beaten to death in the subsequent violence.
The federal minister's son, Ashish Mishra, who is accused of killing the farmers by hitting them in an SUV, has already been arrested.