Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, arrived at the Lakhimpur crime branch after the Uttar Pradesh police served him a second notice to appear by 11 am in connection with the October 3 violence in which eight people were killed.
A lot of his supporters have also reached the crime branch office in Lakhimpur Kheri, where the interrogation of Ashish Mishra is going on. Along with Sadar MLA Yogesh Verma, Ashish Mishra’s lawyer Avadhesh Singh is also present there. Heavy security arrangements have been made around the place where Ashish Mishra is being interrogated. Barricades have been put up at every entry point. Internet services have also been suspended.
Confronting reporters at the Lucknow airport, the junior home minister said that his son Ashish Mishra could not appear before the police as he was not well, but would record his statement on Saturday. His remarks came after a police team led by Deputy Inspector General (HQ) Upendra Agrawal waited for hours at Lakhimpur police lines for Ashish Mishra, who was asked to be present there at 10 am. Around 2 p.m., media waiting outside learned that a second notice with a deadline for Saturday was now pasted at the family’s home in the town.
Mishra’s name was registered in the FIR following allegations that he was also in one of the vehicles that ransacked four farmers protesting the visit of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday. Angry farmers allegedly thrashed two BJP workers and their driver. A local journalist was also killed in the incident, which has put the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh on the backfoot.
Meanwhile, the Congress demanded the immediate dismissal of the Minister of State and the arrest of his son. Reacting to the developments, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said, “I think some people do not believe in the judicial process. Those who are doing political tourism (in UP over Lakhimpur incident) are unfortunate. There were many incidents of crime in Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh but Priyanka and Rahul never went there.
In Delhi, the Congress also demanded the formation of a commission of two sitting judges to deliver justice within 30 days. After the matter reached the Supreme Court on Thursday, the UP Police arrested two people besides issuing the first summons to the minister’s son.
On Friday, the top court said it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government and questioned how one of the accused named in the murder FIR was not arrested. As Ashish Mishra did not appear in the police lines, speculation started that he might have fled to the neighboring Nepal.
But Ajay Mishra told reporters at Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh airport that his son would appear before the police on Saturday to present his case. “We have faith in the law. My son is innocent. He got the notice on Thursday but said that he was not feeling well. “This is a BJP government which works in a fair manner. Action will be taken against the guilty.” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took a similar line at a conclave organized by a television channel.
“The Lakhimpur incident is very unfortunate. The government was going deep into the details of it, he said, adding that no one needs to take the law into their own hands. When alleged that efforts were being made to save the minister’s son, the CM said that those who have evidence related to the violence can upload it through the number already given.
Everything will become crystal clear. No injustice will be done to anyone. No one will be allowed to take law into their own hands but no action will be taken under any pressure. Attacking the opposition leaders going to Lakhimpur Kheri, he said, they are not goodwill ambassadors. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal met the bereaved families separately on Friday. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was among those who had come to meet her earlier.
Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the summons to Ashish Mishra was an excuse to hide the case. He also demanded the resignation of Ajay Mishra and questioned how strict action can be taken in the matter when the officers are giving him salute or giving a banquet.
Lavkush of Banbirpur village and Ashish Pandey of Nighasan tehsil, two of the seven people mentioned by the police in the FIR, were arrested on Thursday. The United Kisan Morcha alleged that two others, Sumit Jaiswal and Ankit Das, were also involved in the violence, but they have not been arrested.
The farmers’ organization alleges that Jaiswal was in the Thar who killed the farmers and was later seen running away. Jaiswal has lodged an FIR against the farmers in the incident. A video clip has also surfaced in which a police officer is interrogating a person named Ankit Das.