At least eight people have been killed in northern India after clashes broke out at a farmers’ protest. Officials informed local media that in a deadly escalation of their year-long campaign against controversial agriculture laws.
- The farmers had gathered for a demonstration on Sunday in Uttar Pradesh state’s Lakhimpur Kheri district. The location is where the junior home affairs minister, Ajay Mishra, and the state’s deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, had been due to visit.
- Chaotic scenes then broke out around vehicles reportedly part of the Mishra convoy. Uttar Pradesh’s director general of police, Mukul Goel, told television news,
“Eight persons died in today’s Lakhimpur incident. Out of the eight, four were farmers and the remaining four were others who were in the vehicles.”
- Farmers claimed that Mishra’s son had been in a car in the minister’s convoy, or was driving it, when the vehicle ran over four protesters, killing them.
- Angry demonstrators then set the cars on fire, and four more people were killed in the ensuing violence, according to early reports from farmers at the protest.
- Video shared on social media purportedly from the protest showed cars going up in flames and bloodied farmers.
- But Mishra denied the claims, telling local media the demonstrators had attacked the convoy and killed three workers from the Bharatiya Janata party the ruling party at the national level and in Uttar Pradesh, and one driver.
- Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, called the incident “very sad and unfortunate” as he appealed for calm.
Internet services in the area were cut, and roads to the state capital Lucknow were closed to quell further outbreaks of violence, local media reported.