The Lakhimpur Kheri incident in Uttar Pradesh


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At around 4 pm on Sunday, 3rd October 2021, bloody images of violence and injured protestors came out of Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. The news came in that four of the farmers were killed in a car accident. There was a convoy of three cars that hit the protesting farmers. One car belonged to BJP leader and Union minister of state Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra. Violence escalated. The visuals showed arson and vehicles on fire. So far, the death toll has reached nine people. This included a journalist and BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) workers.

On the same day, Aryan Khan was arrested for a drug case. While anchors jumped to declare Aryan guilty, they tiptoed around the daylight murderous incident at Lakhimpur Kheri. As it was seen, 13 grams of cocaine and the son of a superstar overpowered the coverage of death and destruction in Uttar Pradesh. There was a team of reporters around every place related to Aryan Khan. But it seemed that Lakhimpur Kheri was too far off for channels to send reporters to. Even the ANI and any PTI were not there. Usually, they are quick to hit any spot worthy of making news.

In Times Now, the news of the casualties as a result of the incident did not find a mention in the opening monologue. However, Swati  Joshi opened a 12-minute long debate on Lakhimpur. She said, “Massive clashes had broken out between protesting farmers and the police. In that, the farmers resorted to violence and arson as the police tried to control the situation.” She added, “Farmer netas claim that a few protesting farmers have been killed in the clashes.” She said this when news of the death of four farmers came on Twitter. Soon, a representative of the farmer’s group, Samyukt Kisan Morcha pulled out the anchor. He clarified that the clashes were not against the farmers and the police. They were between BJP goons and its leader Ajay Mishra’s son who had run over farmers with their cars.

Throughout Sunday, Arnab Goswami’s Republic World totally blacked out the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. Not a single update, report, or debate came on the channel. They finally reported on the incident this morning. It mostly talked about the detention of politicians like Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as well as Akhilesh Yadav. The anchor said, “UP government has made it very clear that it will not allow politicians to take mileage out of the unfortunate incident.” This was a case of political tourism, said an anchor. It was because opposition party leaders were traveling to the spot and all the questions were reserved for them.

In the channel Aaj Tak, most segments on Lakhimpur were focused on Opposition parties, allegations from both sides and Ajay Mishra defending his son. He called the protestors “anarchists”. The channel made repeated references to how promptly the Yogi government has sent the Additional DG of Police to the spot to take control of the situation. India TV covered the Lakhimpur violence on its pre-election bulletin. It was titled “Abki Baar kiski Sarkar”. The anchor reported, “The smoke belching out of these burning vehicles is a testament to how the farmers expressed their anger today. Both the cars belonging to the union minister’s son were set ablaze by farmers. Political parties became active immediately because the issue involved a BJP minister’s son and farmer. The way these Opposition leaders raised questions against BJP, it is evident that the Lakhimpur incident can become a huge election issue in Uttar Pradesh.”

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