Lakhimpur Kheri Violence: Ashish Mishra's arrest comes a day after the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction over the state government's action in the case.
Union MoS Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was on Saturday arrested by an SIT of Uttar Pradesh Police after being interrogated for over 12 hours in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on October 3. The police said that Ashish was not cooperating during the interrogation and he even evaded some of the questions.
“Ashish Mishra, son of MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni, has been arrested as he was not cooperating during the interrogation and didn’t answer few questions. He will be produced before the court,” said DIG Upendra Agarwal, Saharanpur.
The arrest comes a day after the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction over the state government’s action in the case.
Ashish Mishra appeared before the special investigation team (SIT) at around 10.30 am today after a second summons was served to him the previous day when he did not turn up for interrogation.
The minister’s son was named in an FIR following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting over UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit last Sunday. Two BJP workers and their driver were then allegedly lynched by angry farmers. Local journalist Raman Kashyap also died in the incident, which has triggered a political storm and put the BJP government on the back foot in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
However, Ashish Mishra and his father had denied the allegation, saying they can produce evidence to prove he was at an event at that time. However, videos of the incident emerging on social media, and widely shared by Opposition leaders, clearly showed that one of the SUVs from the convoy – which belonged to the minister’s family – ran over unarmed protesters at the site of violence.
On Friday, the Supreme Court questioned the non-arrest of the accused, directed preservation of evidence and mulled transferring the probe to another agency. Without mincing words, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had said, “the law must take its course against all accused” and “the government has to take all remedial steps in this regard to inspire confidence” in the investigation of “brutal murder of eight persons”.
Ashish’s arrest also comes amid the mounting pressure from the Opposition and farmers’ body Samyukt Kisan Morcha, who warned of taking out a ‘Shaheed Kisan Yatra’ from Lakhimpur Kheri with the ashes of slain farmers from October, if their demands of the minister’s resignation and his son’s arrest are not completed.
The SKM also gave a call for a ‘rail roko’ protest across the country from 10 AM to 4 PM on October 18 and a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Lucknow on October 26.
A nine-member team headed by by the SIT team headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Upendra Agarwal has been formed to investigate the FIR lodged against the minister’s son and others in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
After two men were arrested on Thursday in the case, police had put up a notice outside Ashish Mishra’s house asking him to appear before it in connection with the HDAviolence that claimed eight lives.