Who should get compensation? This question has become another political flashpoint in the violent Lakhimpur Kheri episode. The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has said it is giving compensation to families of all eight people killed in the incident, while the opposition Congress has decided to give compensation to only five of the families.
The UP government has given cheques of Rs 45 lakh each to the families of four farmers, who were allegedly mowed down by an SUV belonging to Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra, and the family of journalist Raman Kashyap. The family of BJP worker Shyam Sundar also received a cheque of Rs 45 lakh on Wednesday and the same amount has been given to the families of BJP worker Shubham Mishra and driver Hari Om Mishra.
A job to the next of kin has also been promised to the families of all deceased. “It is an unfortunate incident. We have paid compensation to all the eight families,” a top UP government official said.
But the Congress has decided to give compensation to only five of the eight persons — the four farmers and the journalist. “The three others (two BJP workers and driver of the Thar vehicle) are involved in the brutal massacre of farmers. How can they be compensated? They are the accused,” a Congress leader in Uttar Pradesh told News18.
The BJP, however, says the three were lynched to death, and pointed out that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi chose not to visit these three families during their Lakhimpur visit.
Priyanka Gandhi, however, said on Thursday that said she had wished to meet the families of the dead BJP workers too, but the police told her that those families do not want to meet her. “I then said communicate my condolences to them,” she said.
The Congress has tried to outdo the UP government in compensating the bereaved families of the four farmers and the journalist. Rs 50 lakh each will be given to them by the Congress-run state governments of Punjab and Chhattisgarh — bringing the total compensation to each family at Rs 1 crore.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has said the UP government should give compensation of Rs 2 crore to the families of the farmers. Akhilesh Yadav and BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra are expected to announce compensation at their end for the five families during their visit to Lakhimpur on Thursday. Like the Congress, the SP, too, is expected to ignore the case of the two BJP workers and the driver of the car purportedly shown in viral videos mowing down the farmers who were protesting against the new agri-marketing reforms.