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Trains hit in “rail roko” protest against Minister Ajay Mishra over farmers’ killing

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Pressing for Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s dismissal and arrest over Lakhimpur incident in Uttar Pradesh, in which his son has been arrested, the farmers’ body has called for a six-hour long nationwide ”Rail roko” agitation.

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The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions, said it will hold a peaceful nationwide rail roko protest from 10 am to 4 pm for justice in Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh.

Farmers in Punjab and elsewhere were seen squatting on rail tracks as part of their protest. Four sections of the Ferozepur division were blocked by the protesters, said a railway official. The Ferozepur-Fazilka section in Ferozepur city and the Ferozepur-Ludhiana section at Ajitwal in Moga were affected, he added.

Action will be taken against those participating in the rail roko andolan, said Lucknow police, adding that the stringent National Security Act will be invoked against those trying to disrupt normalcy.

Union Minister of state for Home Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish, has been arrested in the case, but the farmers’ body say that as long as the minister is in the government justice cannot be secured in the matter.

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Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur when a car belonging to the minister ran over them on October 3. Farmers have alleged that the minister’s son mowed down the protesting farmers.

“He (Ajay Mishra) 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 was issuing summons to Ashish Mishra,” read a statement from the farmers’ body.

The minister had refuted the allegations saying that his son was not present at the site of the incident. His son has reiterated the same and denied the allegation.

Sources in the Uttar Pradesh Police have told media that the minister’s son was arrested since he was not able to answer several questions about his whereabouts during the violence allegedly triggered after the vehicle ran over farmers. The arrest came after the Supreme Court pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government.

Last week, Rahul Gandhi-led Congress delegation urged President Ram Nath Kovind to sack the minister whose son is accused of mowing down protesting farmers in UP. The President, in turn, has said he will speak to the government over the issue, said the Congress.

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Terming the Lakhimpur incident “absolutely condemnable”, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said issues of such nature happen in other parts of India equally which should be raised “when they happen and not when it suits others” because there is a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.

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