A Union Minister’s son, accused of running over farmers at Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday, has yet to be arrested amid a flurry of videos and contradictory versions of the incident in which eight people were killed.
Sumit Jaiswal, a local BJP leader seen in a video leaving the SUV that allegedly crushed protesting farmers, claimed that the protesters attacked Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s convoy, not the other way round.
He has filed a case alleging that his driver, friend and two BJP workers were beaten to death and that he found out from social media later. In the FIR, filed three days after the incident, he says he was in the SUV with his friend Shubham and driver Hari Om when protesters attacked the car. The driver was injured and attacked with sticks and swords, he claims.
This is the second FIR after a previous case filed by the families of the dead farmers against the Union Minister’s son Ashish Mishra, accusing him of running over farmers.
In the viral video, Sumit Jaiswal was seen running from the Thar SUV that drove into protesters from behind. The clip also shows a man crushed under the left rear wheel.
Many initially believed Jaiswal was Ashish Mishra, and shared the video calling it proof that he was in the car, contrary to what he and his father have been claiming.
“Yes, I am that man in the video. We were under attack from farmers…I somehow got away alive,” the BJP councillor said.
Another video, unconfirmed so far, shows the Thar ramming the group of slogan-shouting protesters marching on the road with their backs to the convoy.
But Jaiswal claimed the car was not moving, and it was the protesters that attacked the convoy.
“We were at the programme venue. There was an atmosphere of fear. They were armed with sticks and rocks and they kept attacking us, abusing us,” he said. They also shouted “Khalistan Zindabad. They climbed the car,” Jaiswal said.
According to him, that is when they stopped the car and ran out.
“In the video that you see (car running over protesters), the car was stationary and the protesters were constantly attacking us. How can we drive through the crowd? I was lucky to survive…It was terrifying. BJP workers were beaten to death,” he said.
“Those you are calling farmers were actually troublemakers and attacking us”.
When he was asked about the visuals of a man crushed under the SUV – suggesting that the car did, in fact, run over several people – Jaiswal replied: “I was in a hurry to save my life. I didn’t notice any such man.”