Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish Mishra, arrived at the Kheri Crime Branch office on October 9, 2021 for questioning about the Lakhimpur Kheri incident on Sunday. This is the second time Ashish has been summoned to the office after he missed the previous appointment on Friday.
However, farmers are far from assured about the proceedings of the criminal case. Alleging that Ashish was responsible for the four farmer deaths on October 3, leaders said that justice will not be delivered until his father Ajay Mishra remains a Union Minister.
Farmers coalition Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said, “We are deeply concerned with the Uttar Pradesh’s BJP-led government’s protection of the accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre. It was always a matter of obvious concern that justice will be compromised if it is left to the Yogi government and when Ajay Mishra Teni continues to be a Union Minister – it stands vindicated.”
It said that the state government’s assurances to the Supreme Court about Ashish’s presence on Saturday, betrays inside-knowledge about Ashish Mishra’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, his father stated that he was unwell and could not go for the questioning on the appointed day.
Like the SKM, the Supreme Court also expressed displeasure at the administration’s lax attitude on Friday, asking, “Is this how other accused persons are treated in other cases?”
Following the court hearing, farmers rejected the SIT and judicial inquiry set up by the state government. Instead, the SKM demanded an investigation that will report directly to the Supreme Court.
Ashish faces murder charges for both running over farmers and for shooting a young farmer whose family has demanded a second post mortem to confirm bullet injuries on the body. However, even a week after the incident, he is yet to be arrested.
Aside from this main accused, farmers have also demanded arrests of others like Sumit Jaiswal and Ankit Das. Further, the SKM also demanded the immediate sacking and arrest of Minister Mishra Teni.
Farmers plan further action
On Saturday, farmers called for a press conference to announce future plans for the movement. Leaders said that October 12 will be marked as the Shaheed Kisan Diwas and appealed to all to join in the candle-light vigils for the five deaths in Lakhimpur Kheri, including the death of a local journalist Raman Kashyap.
“A series of actions will be taken up to put pressure on Modi and Yogi governments, to secure justice for farmers. The SKM appeals to people to organise prayer meetings on Tuesday in gurudwaras, temples, churches, mosques and any other public places, and organise prayer and shraddhanjali meetings.”
Farmers appealed to all to light five candles outside their homes as homage to the deceased. Further, the SKM warned that if their demands for the sacking and arrest of the Union Minister are not accepted by October 11, farmers will observe a nationwide rail roko on October 18 from 10 AM and 4 PM.