VILLAGE PARSERA (LAKHIMPUR KHERI): At their 600-square feet home, Hari Om Mishra’s two younger siblings — Madhuri and Sriram — look miserable as there won’t be anyone now to take the daily assessment on their father’s recovery from cerebral palsy.
Hari Om, the 30-year-old driver of Minister of State for Home (MoS), Ajay Mishra, was the sole breadwinner of his family. He was killed in October 3 clashes, for which his family blames the farmers.
Tears have not stopped flowing from his mother, Nisha Mishra’s eyes as she remains dazed and in shock, struggling to come to terms with what happened to her son last Sunday. Her son, she tells us, had chosen to stay unmarried so he could take care of his ailing father.
“He was an adarsh (ideal) son. He refused to get married despite my persistence, just so he could fulfil his filial duties. He wanted to get his sister married off first and take care of their father, who is suffering from a deadly disease. I had even set a deadline of a year for him to marry, but he knew his family responsibilities were bigger. What we didn’t realise was that he would leave us so soon,” she cries.
The family recalls his harmless temperament and say that he was just not the kind to harbour any ill-feeling towards others, especially the Sikh farmers. They express their shock at the severity of the injury marks on his dead person, especially his neck and bones, which were badly fractured.
“They could have well shot him instead of beating him to death,” wails Hari Om’s mother, as if imagining the pain her son must have undergone.
Her younger son Sri Ram, too wears a forlorn look. For somebody, who had just cleared his Class 12, he is most dejected that his elder brother is no longer there to mentor and guide him on his life journey. He refuses to accept the reports coming in that allege that Hari Om was driving fast, let alone he mowed down someone.
“No one is showing the initial videos. Neither media nor farmers. If their protest was against the bills, why harm government representatives. Besides, we don’t think these bills will harm us, they will only help us get better prices for wheat and paddy. Just like we barely have sugarcane crop here,” says Shri Ram. Such is the family’s economic condition that Hari Om had borrowed Rs 3.5 lakh from Kisan Credit Card and another Rs 12 lakh as loan, as he felt that the Rs 10,000 that he drew as his salary was not enough to fulfil the needs of his family of four.
His house has an open kitchen with just two rooms, of which one was used by Hari Om for his daily prayers. Books of religious nature and sacred religious texts are still stacked up on a wall in the room. When he was alive, Hari Om would often sleep on the floor so as not to disturb the family when he got home late at night from his driving duties.
His sister, Madhuri for whom Hari Om has arranged a match only last year, is inconsolable. She pulls out old photographs of her deceased brother that now make for a painful memory. There are several photographs of Hari Om posing after a dip in the holy Ganga. “He treated my father and mother as his biggest pilgrimage. Despite earning only Rs 10,000, he would bring medicines and treatment for our father,” she says.
The family is furious at the accusations that the Congress leaders were not allowed to meet them. “Why would we or anyone stop someone, including Priyanka Gandhi, from visiting us. It’s strange that she or Congress wants to put us under scrutiny because of their political gains. My child died while working hard to meet the expenses of our family” says Nisha.
The deafening silence at their home and the village is broken by a steady flow of visitors, including those claiming to be “protectors” of Hindus and Brahmins in particular.
“Why can media or Opposition parties not be concerned about other four people who also died?” questions Mitresh Chaturvedi. “Everybody wants to show sympathy with the farmers. Which we also have. But the Congress, SP, RLD and AAP are doing it because they have 2022 elections on their mind. This boy was a Brahmin and my sympathy is with him. That’s why I travelled this far” he said.
Villagers have their own take. They believe that those behind clashes were not farmers. “We don’t want to comment on their (the killers’) motives but everybody here knows that some of them were not even farmers,” says Rajnikant. Om Prakash and Gaya Prasad claim nearly 16 villages have expressed solidarity with Mishra’s family.
Meanwhile, as the situation unfolds and till those behind the incident are nabbed, the future remains bleak for the family.