Lakhimpur Kheri, UP:
Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra – charged with murder in Lakhimpur Kheri – has not been arrested 24 hours after the First Information Report naming him was filed. A top police officer of Uttar Pradesh explained the inaction today, saying they were “busy”.
“We were first busy with negotiations with farmers and then with postmortems and then with getting the cremations done. We follow a due process in every case and we will investigate this case thoroughly,” SN Sabat, the Additional Director General of Police for the Lucknow Zone, told NDTV.
Asked again by NDTV if the attitude would have been similar if the high profile of the accused was not involved, Mr Sabat said, “The attitude of the police is towards the victim and not the accused” and refused to take further questions.
In the FIR filed, Ashish Mishra has been accused of murder and death by negligence.
Farmers who were protesting against the visit of his father of the state’s Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya on Sunday, said the minister’s son was at the wheels of an SUV that mowed down a group, killing four people and injuring several others. The violence it triggered led to four other deaths.
A video of the horrifying moment circulating on social media — NDTV has not been able to verify its authenticity — shows an SUV driving into a group of protesters from behind, crushing many of them.
Ajay Mishra, the junior minister for home, had acknowledged the accident but said the vehicle overturned, crushing the protesters who were throwing stones at the cavalcade.
The farmers have also alleged that one of the four people have died of bullet wounds, demanding that a second postmortem be conducted at a Delhi hospital. The body has not been cremated, even though the funeral for the other three was conducted this afternoon.
Ajay Mishra and his son have both denied that they were present at the spot.
In an interview to NDTV, Ashish Mishra said. “I was not in the car. I was at my paternal home in Banwirpur village where a wrestling match was being organised. I was there from the morning till the end of the event”.
Opposition leaders have repeatedly questioned the police inaction against him.
“Those who ruthlessly crush the farmers roam free and we are in police custody for 36 hours. The farmer families are mourning and there are celebrations in Lucknow,” Congress’s Deepender Singh Hooda – arrested yesterday with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra yesterday — tweeted in Hindi, signing it “From Police Lines Sitapur”.
After her arrest, Ms Gandhi Vadra had told NDTV, “If you can arrest us, why not the murder-accused minister’s son”.
Today, tweeting the viral video of the crash, Ms Gandhi Vadra tweeted, “@narendramodi Sir, your government has kept me in custody for the last 28 hours without any order and FIR. This person who crushed the annadata (farmers) has not been arrested yet. Why?”