‘Not the Work of the Son Alone’: Farmers on Lakhimpur Kheri Incident
Farmers said that Ashish Misra took this step only with the consent of the minister (his father).
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Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Days after the incidents in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday, 3 October, which resulted in the death of eight people, including at least four farmers, farmers told The Quint that Ashish Misra took this step only with the consent of his minister father, otherwise he would not have had the courage.
The Uttar Pradesh police on Monday, filed a First Information Report (FIR) for murder against Ashish Misra, son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Misra Teni, for allegedly running his car over the protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district of the state on Sunday.
A video, purportedly of the incident has also surfaced, showing an SUV ramming into protesting farmers from behind, confirming statements of the farmers, who claimed that it had caught them without warning.
Taranjit Singh, a farmer in Tikunia town, told The Quint that three vehicles came at a speed of 80-90 km and mowed down the men.
The farmers have sought a fair investigation and are demanding immediate action from the government against the accused.
Another farmer Parminder Singh said,
"The government is talking about a compensation of Rs 45 lakh, government jobs, but the question is why the BJP is getting its ministers to commit such atrocities on farmers. Why has the minister not already been suspended? The government has not taken any action nor has arrested the accused."Parminder Singh.
Jasvir Singh Virk, Chief of Bharatiya Sikh Sangathan, demanded the removal of Union MoS Ajay Misra, saying, “This is not the work of the son of the minister alone, it was also the will of his father. It is not a single man’s job to trample people in this way without having the consent of the seniors. We have told the administration that first, the minister should be removed and only then could the inquiry be done in a transparent way."
Farmers have alleged that five farmers died after being crushed by the car driven by Ashish Misra.
Minister Claims Son 'Was Not There'
Ajay Misra reiterated on Tuesday that his son wasn't there at the spot of the incident. He was quoted as saying, "We have evidence to prove that neither I nor my son were present at spot. We are ready to face any investigating agency. Culprits, who have planned this incident won't be spared," ANI reported.
The minister added that if his son had been at the spot, he would not have been able to come back alive.
Meanwhile, maintaining the same, Ashish Misra had earlier said in a interview, "It's not correct that the Fortuner mowed down farmers. The truth is that our workers went to receive the Honourable Deputy Chief Minister. The Thar SUV that was in the front was attacked with sticks and stones. The driver Hari Om was injured or may have died in that attack. The car lost its balance and overturned. That's how these two people who are being called farmers must have been injured."
However, confirming Misra's presence on the scene, a senior police officer was quoted as saying, “Ashish Mishra did not expect such a crowd and tried to escape, resulting in the incident,” The Indian Express reported.
Dilbagh Singh, a farmers' leader who was present, added, "The Minister’s son realised that he may get caught, so he shot one of the farmers and fled.”
'Post-Mortem Report is False': Father of Deceased Farmer
Sukhwinder Singh, father of Gurvinder Singh, a farmer from Bahraich who had allegedly been killed in the unrest on Sunday, told The Quint:
"My son has been shot. Teni's (Union Minister Ajay Teni Misra) son has shot him. We should get justice for this. They have even falsified the post mortem report. We should get justice for that."
Officials from the district administration had reached the house of the grieving family in Bahraich, and had urged them to conduct the last rites of Gurvinder Singh.
However, the family has demanded that another post-mortem be carried out, to ascertain the cause of Gurvinder Singh's death. The family maintains that Singh had been shot, and that bullet wounds are evidently visible on his body, even as the post-mortem report lacks any mention of the same.
Gurvinder Singh's family has articulated its demand for a post-mortem to be conducted in another state.
'Ajay Misra's Son and His Men Were in the Car'
Tejinder Virk, an injured protester presently under medical treatment at Delhi's Medanta Hospital, told NDTV that Union minister Ajay Teni Misra's son had been part of the convoy of cars that allegedly mowed down at least three farmers on Sunday.
Virk, who had organised the protest on Sunday, reportedly against the Union minister's visit to the area, told NDTV in an interview:
"We were told at 3 pm that their route has changed. We started going back peacefully. Suddenly, speeding cars hit us from behind. The car was at over 100 km/hour speed. They ran us over on purpose. Ajay Misra's son and his men were in the car. Then I lost consciousness."
The UP government has taken several steps to ensure no opposition leader reaches the Lakhimpur Kheri incident site.
UP Police on Monday detained Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, who was staging a protest outside his house after not being allowed to visit Lakhimpur Kheri district. He had been placed under house arrest earlier.
Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Pramod Tiwari, too, were placed under house arrest at Tiwari's house in Lucknow. They were going to join Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was arrested on her way to meet farmers and kin of victims earlier on Monday morning, for providing legal aid.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati said the party's national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP SC Mishra was placed under house arrest late on Sunday night, which was still continuing.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder S Randhawa were also not allowed to land in Lucknow.
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