Every day since Sunday, October 3, when protesting farmers reportedly attacked BJP workers in Lakhimpur Kheri, resulting in an ensuing clash between the two sides, claims and counterclaims are being made about the incident.
While one side says protesting farmers instigated the violent skirmishes by attacking the BJP convoy, the other side claims farmers were run down deliberately by a car. Amidst these recriminations, the grim reality is that 8 people lost their lives in the violent clashes.
One of the casualties of this skirmish was a young journalist Raman Kashyap who was neither from the BJP nor a part of the protesting farmers. Yet he lost his life just because he was in Lakhimpur Kheri, conscientiously carrying out his duty of journalist and covering the farmers’ protest. Like the rest of us, he was unaware of what fate had in store for him. Neither did his family have the slightest of inkling that their son, who was out on work, would never return.
Raman is survived by his wife, a 12-year-old daughter, a two-and-a-half-year-old son, his father and two younger brothers—Pawan Kashyap and Rajat Kashyap.
Opindia talks to Raman Kashyap’s father Ram Dulare Kashyap
OpIndia got in touch with the bereaved father to talk about the unfortunate tragedy that befell the family. Ram Dulare Kashyap, Raman’s father, said his eldest son left the house at 12 PM on the fateful day of October 3 to cover a program of State Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and protests carried out by ‘farmers’ against him.
However, at 4 in the evening, he got a call from one of his younger sons who told him that Raman’s mobile phone was switched off. Later, they came to know about the violence that erupted in Lakhimpur Kheri in which 4 farmers had lost their lives. Raman’s family grew tensed. They still had no idea about their son’s whereabouts. The violence took place somewhere between 3 to 3:30 PM in the afternoon but they came to know about his son’s death at 3 in the morning, 12 hours later, he informed.
Ram Kashyap says his son’s body was sent to Lakhimpur Kheri for postmortem at around 6:30 AM on Monday. He could not receive treatment in Tikonia or in Ninghasan. Raman’s father laments that if a modicum of effort had been made, his son would have been alive today.
“Raman was directly taken to the morgue in Lakhimpur Kheri. There were hospitals on their way to the morgue, but no effort was undertaken to get him any medical attention. We saw the dead body. There were no visible marks of serious injury on it. There was a bruise, minor grazings on hands and legs, and specs of coal tar on his body. So many journalists had gone from here together, no one told us anything nor asked us whether our son returned or not.
At 3 o’clock in the morning, Tikoniya Kotwal called my son’s friend and said that a body has not been identified, and asked him to go and identify it,” Ram Kashyap said.
Kashyap got emotional while narrating the ordeal of visiting the morgue to identify his son’s body. “These people told us about the incident that took place at 3 in the afternoon at 3 am in the morning. 12 hours after it happened. When we reached the mortuary, we saw an unclaimed corpse lying there. Postmortems of three bodies were done. My son was lying skewed. I looked at the clothes and when I turned him around, I saw it was my son’s body. (The father said sobbing) Had he been treated somewhere first, he might have survived,” Kashyap said.
When asked about what kind of support he had received from the administration so far, Ram Dulare said SDM has assured him that his family will receive the same kind of help that would be extended to the bereaved families of the deceased farmers.
After the incident, CM Yogi Adityanath had announced compensation of Rs 45 lakh to the families of the deceased, along with a guaranteed government job to at least one member of the family. SDM Ninghasan further assured Ram Kashyap that he will extend as much help as possible.
Want administration to arrest the culprit and initiate stringent action against them: Ram Dulare
After the death of his son, Ram Dulare has asked the administration to nab the culprits and take stringent against them. He also asked the government to legislate a law that would ensure the security of journalists. Ram says he does not want anyone to go through what his son had endured.
Ram Dulare also told us that he has received his son’s mobile phone, which has all the videos shot by him right before the scuffle. The videos show, Dulare claims, protesting farmers waving black flags as vehicles arrived. Ram has been told that his son was hit by a Fortuner vehicle while the farmer protesters were hit by a Thar.
Ram Dulare also clarifies that he has not yet seen any video showing vehicles being attacked, so he does not know about it.
It is also worth mentioning that BJP leader Sumit Jaiswal, who saved his life by jumping off from the Thar, says that when they were on their way, a crowd of hundreds surrounded them and attacked them with sharp weapons. The driver of the vehicle was hurt in the incident and he lost control of the car. According to him, maybe two or three people were hurt by the car as they were standing right in the front.
This report was published originally in Hindi. The Hindi version can be read here.