Vehicles in a convoy linked to a minister in the right-wing BJP government in New Delhi allegedly ran over farmers agitating against controversial farm laws.
The horrific incident happened in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh during a visit by Ajay Kumar Mishra, the union minister of state for home affairs.
Mishra has issued a statement denying that he or his son were present.
It occurred close to the October 2 birthday of world-renowned peace leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who is also known as the father of the Indian nation,
The farmers had gathered to register their protest against laws imposed without much consultation and transparency and that threaten their livelihood. The development comes as the farmers’ movement has entered its 11th month.
More than 700 farmers have already laid down their lives during the agitation.
The fresh incident is likely to fuel more anger and outrage.
According to media reports, the convoy's action and a subsequent violent clash has claimed eight lives, including four farmers. Two vehicles were set on fire by the protesters after the convoy mowed down demonstrators.
If this were not enough, two videos of Mishra and another BJP leader, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, show them inciting party supporters to violently attack the protesting farmers. This has led some to suggest that this could have been a preplanned conspiracy.
Notably, Uttar Pradesh is ruled by the BJP, which has been trying to suppress the farmers’ struggle.
Ironically, BJP supporters have been trying to malign the farmers as “terrorists” and “anarchists”, whereas party leaders have been openly inciting bloodshed and have now appear to have been caught being involved in one.
On one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid obeisance to Gandhi on his birthday, while his party leaders were involved in violence targeted at the farmers, who have been leading a peaceful movement with no resolution in sight since November 26, 2020.
If anyone deserves to be called terrorists, it is the BJP leaders, like Mishra and Khattar. Unfortunately, we cannot expect any senior BJP political functionary to be charged for terror given that they are in power, but it’s time for the world leaders to intervene before it’s too late.
If nothing else, they should speak out against the barbarity of the Indian state under BJP for the sake of Gandhi. That’s the least the international community can do.