The Uttar Pradesh government acted swiftly to stop the uproar after the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and tried to convince the protesting farmers within 24 hours. Also, the crowd of more than 25,000 that had gathered there should also be controlled. Helping the government in achieving this target was Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait and a group of senior officials. These were officers who have worked with the leader of western UP for years.
According to a report in the Indian Express, sources said that these officials, along with others, prepared Tikait for mediation and ensured that he reached Lakhimpur Kheri at the earliest. Simultaneously, these officers also arranged for talks, which started at around 1.30 am on Monday and ended about 12 hours later at around 2 pm the next afternoon.
According to the report, it is learned that Tikait had asked the officer coordinating with him from Lucknow to keep the opposition leaders away, as it would have been difficult to convince and pacify the farmers.
In this episode, the Yogi Adityanath government blocked the roads, stopped the plane from landing and took the leaders into custody to ensure that the opposition could not reach there till Tuesday.
The role played by Tikait is significant, as he is considered the face of the peasant movement in UP. In the poll-polled state, these protests are largely concentrated in the western districts, where Mahendra Singh Tikait to Rakesh Tikait has a strong presence.
According to the report, an official present on the spot said that Tikait never expressed any aggression or criticism towards the state government in conversation or while addressing the farmers. They left Lakhimpur Kheri only after the protesters dispersed.
Officials said the meetings with farmers were conducted in “three phases” to bring it to a positive conclusion. Firstly, Lakhimpur Kheri District Magistrate Arvind Chaurasia and Superintendent of Police Vijay Dhull interacted with the farmer delegation, which was headed by Tikait and included two of his confidants and four local Sikh farmers. They met three times with an interval in between.
Then, as per the strategy that was devised, Lucknow range IG Laxmi Singh and Divisional Commissioner Ranjan Kumar held meetings in several rounds with breaks for tea and lunch.
The Tikait team then put forward three demands – registration of a murder case against Union Minister Ajay Mishra and his son Ashish (farmers have alleged that Ashish himself was driving the car that was driven over the protesters, in which four people were killed); The copy of the FIR should be shown immediately; Compensation of one crore rupees each to the next of kin of each deceased farmer and a government job to one member of his family in his native district.
The officials assured the delegation that a case would be registered asking them to reduce the demand for compensation and insist on the job. However, the Tikait-led delegation did not budge for long.
Officials acknowledged that there were several tense moments as the crowd continued to grow around the site. They feared that any minor incident could lead to a clash between angry farmers, many of whom were reportedly armed with swords, sticks and licensed guns, and the huge contingent of police, RAF and SSB deployed on the spot.
At around 1 pm, Additional Chief Secretary Agriculture Devesh Chaturvedi, ADG Law and Order Prashant Kumar and ADG Lucknow Zone SN Sabat arrived to talk to farmers with a copy of the FIR against Ashish, after the final approval from Lucknow for allegedly making a deal. .
The relatives of the deceased farmers were also present in this meeting. The compensation amount was fixed at Rs 45 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 10 lakh for the injured. Top officials in Lucknow also spoke to Tikait and a Sikh farmer leader from Punjab.
The team of senior officials reportedly did not want to hold a press conference on the final deal, but Tikait insisted on it. He told the media that the farmers are ending their agitation over Sunday’s incident.
Apart from Chaturvedi and other officials involved in the last conversation, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avnish Kumar Awasthi also played an important role in this. Sources said Awasthi was in constant touch with officials and Tikato on the spot.
According to sources, Awasthi has kept a line open with Tikait since the farmers’ agitation over three agricultural laws a year ago, and the family since coming in contact with Mahendra Singh Tikait during his tenure as the Meerut District Magistrate. have good relations with
Officials say that this is the reason why BKU has not made any major movement within the UP border, especially around Lucknow.
The rest of the officers also know Tikait very well. ADG Prashant Kumar worked as ADG, Meerut Zone for a long time while ADG SN Sabat was earlier also posted as SSP, Muzaffarnagar, West UP. ACS, Agriculture, Chaturvedi has been a part of many meetings with Tikait in his official capacity.
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