Aligarh: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) will hold up rail traffic for six hours on October 18, to protest against lack of action against Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, who is an accused in the Lakhimpur incident in which nine persons, including four farmers were killed on October 3.
The minister has been accused of criminal conspiracy by farmers and his son has been arrested after being booked for killing four farmers and a journalist.
"Farmers will block railway tracks for six hours as a protest between 10am and 4pm on Monday," the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said at a private event in Aligarh on Thursday. He said the "red-carpet arrest" of Ashish Mishra has fuelled anger among protesting farmers.
He said, "Farmers from every district will stage blockades on their nearest rail lines. The minister has been accused of criminal conspiracy but he has not been summoned, nor has he been asked to step down. His son was arrested, but after a lot of delay. We will not get justice if he remains in office. So, unless he is sacked, we are going ahead with our rail roko programme."
Preparations for the rail roko have already begun.
In Punjab, farmers have identified 36 points for the blockade.
"We will make sure no train from any state passes through these points," said Jagmohan Singh, state general secretary of BKU in Punjab.
In Mathura, hundreds have been asked to turn up at each station. "About 600 people have been asked to gather at Raya station and nearly 400 at Mathura junction to stop trains," said Raj Kumar Tomar, district president of BKU in Mathura.
Farmer leaders had earlier announced their protest plan if the minister was not sacked by October 12 by burning effigies of senior BJP leaders, rail roko and a maha panchayat in Lucknow on October 26.
It may be recalled that on October 3, farmers at Banbirpur in Lakhimpur Kheri were preparing for a black flag protest against union minister Ajay Mishra Teni and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya when Mishra's convoy allegedly ran over protesters, killing four farmers.
The violence escalated and two BJP workers, a driver and a journalist were also killed.
Farmers have further alleged that the killings were "planned" while Mishra has maintained that it was an "accident" that followed "protesters pelting stones at the convoy".
"Everybody knows that nothing would come out of the 'red-carpet arrest' of the union minister's son. How can anybody expect anything when the police who are questioning Ashish Mishra also present bouquets to the MoS," Tikait said.
When asked about the arrest of Ankit Das, a friend of Ashish Mishra, he claimed, "More false witnesses will be produced and some will even take responsibility on their head under the influence of Ajay Mishra in the region."
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)