The Uttar Pradesh police have released the FIR detailing how Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish was firing on protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, while seated on the left side of the Mahindra Thar vehicle that ended up mowing down four farmers. However, Ashish a.k.a Monu is yet to be arrested – a prime demand of farmer leaders following the Sunday incident.
According to the FIR filed by local resident Jagjeet Singh, Ashish was sitting on the left side of the vehicle that ran over people on October 3, 2021. The firing also resulted in the death of farmer Gurvinder Singh, whose body has been sent for a second autopsy after the first report failed to confirm a bullet injury.
The report charged Ashish with murder and causing death by negligence and acknowledges that assembled farmers were protesting peacefully.
“It was around 3 P.M that Ashish rushed towards the protest site along with 15-20 armed men in three- or four-wheelers. Ashish, who was in his Mahindra Thar, sat on the left side and fired and crushed the people in the crowd,” said the FIR.
A viral video on social media and SKM leader Tajinder Virk, who went through surgery after the Sunday incident, also confirmed Ashish’s presence at the scene of crime. However, his father Ajay Mishra denied the presence of his son at the scene of crime. In a self-made video shared by ANI, he said the farmers’ protest has become violent and guilty protesters should be penalised.
The report said that the vehicle continued to run over protesters at high speed, eventually lost control and fell into a ditch. Many farmers were severely injured within this time. Meanwhile, Ashish ran into the field while firing.
Ironically, while the accused in this case is yet to be arrested by the police, farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni was arrested and detained for several hours on October 4 by the state government. Farmers challenged this move of the administration.
“It is clear that the Yogi Government is wary of the truth of the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre emerging fully in front of the world and is protecting its own. The SKM condemns the attempts of the UP government to prevent people from Punjab to come to Lakhimpur Kheri, and asks the UP government to withdraw its letter to Punjab Government Chief Secretary with regard to the same,” said SKM leader Balbir Singh Rajewal.
Farmers also claimed that the state police have prevented other farmers from attending the last rites of the two youths from Bahraich district who died in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Similarly, political leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were prevented from visiting the district due to Section 144 in the area. The same imposition has prevented farmers from protesting in the area in huge crowds.
However, families and others affected by the incident have continued voicing their dissent – despite mourning the loss of four farmers – through social media or preserving the bodies until the post mortem report properly acknowledged the cause of death.