The incident of vehicles running over the crowd at the farmers' protest site in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh involving of the son of a Union Home minister, which killed eight people defies any description. But what was witnessed in Lakhimpur on Sunday was a most heinous and barbaric model of the sangh parivar taking over the situation and taking law into their hands in the anarchic rule of UP – a state that has become a classic example of fascist raj of the country. It was at the people who were gathered - as part of the agitation against the farm laws introduced by the Centre - for a protest against the UP deputy chief minister that the son of the local MP and union minister ran amok in typical fascist fashion with a heavy handed attack. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath who made his brief response with shock at the incident, was later forced to order an inquiry and further action following strong condemnations. The police registered cases against union minister for home Ajay Mishra and his son Ashish Mishra who drove the car into the mob. The chief minister has also declared a compensation of Rs 45 lakh to each of the families dependent on the farmers killed, job to a member of the family and Rs ten lakh to those injured. At the same time, the Yogi government is proceeding with repressive measures including internet control, to kill the farm protests, and flight ban on the leaders.
Those who died in Lakhimpur on Sunday were martyrs of the draconian farm laws of the BJP's union government that squeezes the farmers in favour of monopoly tycoons. The brutal killing which happened in UP brings to mind the 2017 incident four years ago, in 2017 in which five farmers were shot to death in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh. On the sixth day of the strike that started on June 1, 2017 demanding minimum support price and one-time writing off of agrarian loans, the police fired shots at enraged protesters in which five people died at the site and one later. But sadly enough, even after the lapse of four years, the farmers are still still destined to spend their days in the street with the same demands. The legal battle for those who lost lives in Mandsaur hasn't got anywhere. However, albeit after some waiting, the government gave compensation and jobs to dependents. Even then, the government was not at all keen to hold to account those responsible for the incident.
The BJP governments in the Centre and states seem to be giving a lesson to people how they will handle protests against the government. And the rampage made by the sangh parivar workers is such as if they had a licence to take on with arms any one causing headache to the government. The same tactics which the Centre adopted in Delhi to crush the citizenship protests, are being employed now against the farmer strike. The 'experiment' conducted by infiltrating the citizenship protesters and sending hooligans into the strike gatherings, finally ended up in a clearly racial riot. The Modi government is adamant that it will not budge an inch in the farm laws which were in total disregard of the burning issues of the farmers with the provisions that gives a blow to them.
All the same, it wants to see the protests crashing. In the case of citizenship protests, it was convenient for the regime to give it a racial colour, but not so for the farmer strike. Here, the sangh parivar governments in various states are seeking ways of scuttling the protest through various means. The protesters claim that so far 610 farmers have died in the strikes, including those killed in attacks against the protesters in different regions. In Haryana, the hot spot of the farmers' strike, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar publicly called on people to take arms against the strikers. And Karnal's Sub Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha went a step further with a shrill call to thrash the heads of the striking farmers. Recall also the clumsy attempts of the Central government on last Independence Day to block the farmers' march by digging tunnels, putting up barbed fences and denying power, water and internet connection. The Centre has been adopting a policy of not only suppressing the strike, but even blacking out farmers' lives. The Modi government's love for farmers consists in not maintaining figures of farmer suicides. The sangh parivar is seeking different oppressive methods of silencing the voice of cultivators and what was in display in Lakhimpur was just the latest example of that. But farmers' rage is not one that can be put down with the jungle raj model of Yogi of settling issues by letting loose armed party gangs. And that is the cause of nervousness of Yogi whose eye is set on upcoming elections. Nevertheless, if it attempts to overcome this hurdle by spilling the blood of the farmers, that misadventure would be suicidal. Except from the verbosity about farmers' interests, Narendra Modi at the Centre and his avatars in the states are all indulging in actions damaging them. Overall, the BJP is proving each day that it is not concerned at all either about the country or its key constituent of farmers.