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Farmers to congregate in Lakhimpur Kheri for 'antim ardas'

 
Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 12 (IANS) About two lakh farmers are expected to arrive in Lakhimpur Kheri on Tuesday to observe 'Shaheed Kisan Diwas' and pay tributes to the four farmers who lost their lives in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on October 3.

The 'antim ardas' -- a post death ritual -- of the martyred farmers will take place in Tikunia at Sahebjada Inter College.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions, has appealed to the farmer organisations and progressive groups across the country to mark the occasion by organising prayer and homage meetings all over the country, followed by candle light vigils in the evening.

BKU-Tikait's district president Amandeep Singh Sandhu said that no political leader will be allowed to share the stage.

Several political leaders, however, will be attending the 'antim ardas' in Lakhimpur.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and RLD president Jayant Chaudhary are among those who will be attending the event.

"Farmers and leaders of various farm unions from other states and districts of UP will participate in the 'ardas' and 'bhog' programme," Sandhu said.

The SKM has also urged people to light five candles outside their houses at 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

In a statement, the SKM also expressed its dismay at lack of action against Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son's vehicle allegedly ran over the farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri.

"It is shameful that Ajay Mishra Teni has not been sacked yet. It was his vehicles that were in the convoy that killed innocent people," the statement said.

It added that farmers will mark Dussehra by burning effigies of BJP leaders on October 15.

It may be recalled that thousands of farmers from across the country have been camping at the Delhi borders since November last year, demanding repeal of the three farm laws that they claim would do away with the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.

Over 10 rounds of talks with the government, which has been projecting the laws as agricultural reforms, have failed to break the deadlock between the two sides.

Meanwhile, tight security arrangements have been made in Lakhimpur for the event on Tuesday.

Senior civil and police officers are camping in the district to supervise arrangements and CCTV cameras have been installed all along the venue and the routes.

Additional DG (Lucknow zone) S.N. Sabat, IG (Lucknow) Laxmi Singh and Lucknow commissioner Ranjan Kumar, along with 7 other IPS officers, are overseeing the law-and-order arrangements. Paramilitary forces are staging flag marches in the area.

"We have had meetings with the Sikh leaders and requested them to stage the protest at gurdwaras of their areas instead of marching towards Lakhimpur Kheri because it could create a law-and-order problem. Many have accepted our request. We are keeping an eye on the numbers," said a senior official.

The SKM officer-bearers said that they would draft the course of future action after the Akhand Paath Bhog," he said.

--IANS
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