The Special Investigation Team, probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which eight people were killed including four farmers on October 3, has said that the incident was a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’. The SIT has approached the court to replace the lesser charges with attempt to murder in the FIR against the accused. It may be recalled that Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is also one of the accused. Police have already arrested all 13 accused in the Tikunia violence and produced them before the court yesterday.
The farmer unions and the opposition leaders have been demanding that the NDA government sack MoS Ajay Mishra. Opposition leaders today moved adjournment motions in Parliament over the issue. “If PM Modi has even an iota of devotion for Ganga Maata, he must advise his minister (Ajay Mishra Teni) to resign or he himself should decide and sack him. I think it’ll further enhance his image because he’s working on image makeover right now,” said Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury after the SIT report claimed ‘conspiracy’.
On the SIT’s recommendation, the magistrate agreed to replace lesser charges like causing death by negligence with a more serious one of attempt to murder (section 307). Sections like 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) are already present in the FIR.
Senior prosecution officer S P Yadav told PTI that the court has permitted the SIT to add IPC sections 307, 326 and sections 3/25/30 read with section 35 of the Arms Act against 13 accused.
The Tikunia violence had taken place when a group of farmers was protesting the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Union minister Ajay Mishra’s native place and it had left four farmers, a local journalist, two BJP workers and a driver dead and several others injured. The Uttar Pradesh government had formed a nine-member SIT to investigate both cases. The SIT was later reconstituted by the Supreme Court.