Among the eight people who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri carnage on 3 October was the 33-year-old journalist Raman Kashyap. Anil Kumar Maurya, another journalist who was present at the scene, told The Caravan that he and Raman had been exchanging visiting cards when a black SUV drove through the crowd, hitting Raman, among others. The vehicle was part of a cavalcade associated with the union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni that allegedly mowed down farmers protesting the controversial agricultural laws. After initially fleeing the scene, Maurya said, he spent the rest of the day looking for Raman, eventually returning home at 3 am. Around that time, Raman’s father, Ram Dulare, received a call from the local mortuary, asking him to come identify his son’s body.
Raman was a tehsil correspondent with the regional television channel Sadhna Plus News. Surjeet Channi, a journalist with the news channel News One India who has known Raman’s family for years—and was injured in the incident—described him as an educated young man. “After completing his studies, he started teaching in private schools,” Channi told me. “He was married and shouldered a lot of responsibilities.” Besides his wife, Anuradha, and two children—11-year-old Vaishnavi and two-year-old Abhinav—Raman is survived by his parents, an elder sister and two younger brothers.
Channi called Raman’s short journalistic career “no less than a film story.” Ram Dulare is a farmer who owns around three hectares of land. “Around a year and a half ago, Raman found himself in a land dispute with the local sand-mining mafia,” Channi said. The mining interests were connected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, he added, and could count on support from “henchmen of the local MLA and so-called journalists.” Raman’s brother Pawan told me that, by entering journalism, Raman hoped to develop contacts among the local administration, which would provide his family some protection from the harassment they faced due to the dispute.