Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said that Union minister Ajay Mishra must resign to ensure that the investigation into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence is impartial, reported NDTV.
Vadra pointed out that Mishra is a minister of state of home affairs and that inquiries come under the ministry’s ambit.
“He is saying his son is innocent, that he was not there [at the site of violence],” she told reporters. “Fine. So resign on moral grounds. Let the investigation happen. When the result comes and if your son has not committed the crime, become a minister again.”
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed after violence erupted in Lakhimpur Kheri district on October 3 during a protest against the Centre’s contentious agricultural laws. Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle which was part of Union minister Ajay Mishra’s convoy ran over the protestors. They have claimed the the vehicle belonged to the minister’s son Ashish Mishra.
The police have booked Ashish Mishra on multiple charges, including murder and criminal conspiracy. However, he has not been arrested yet.
However, the minister claimed that the farmers threw stones at the vehicle, which led to the “accident”.
Contrary to Ajay Mishra’s claims, a video of the incident purportedly showed the farmers peacefully walking down the road when an SUV rams them. The SUV is followed by two other vehicles. Protestors can then be seen approaching the first car with sticks purportedly to attack it.
The police have not yet verified the authenticity of the video. Scroll.in also could not verify the video independently. However, the locale that can be seen in the video looks similar to visuals that had emerged after Sunday’s incident.
The statement came a day after Vadra and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met the families of the victims of the violence.
On Thursday, Vadra told reporters that the families of the victims have said they do not care about compensation but only want justice. The families demanded the Union minister’s resignation and arrest of the accused person, she said.
The Uttar Pradesh government has announced a compensation of Rs 45 lakh and a government job to the families of the four farmers who died.
Vadra said that the Uttar Pradesh government deployed a police force to stop political leaders from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri. “But you did not deploy a police force for the accused person,” she said. “When this incident happened, where was the police, what was it doing?”
The Congress leader said that she was arrested without an First Information Report against her and she was not showed any orders or produced before a magistrate’s court.
“They [the UP government] violated all the rules for arresting me but for him [Ashish Mishra], just an FIR is enough?” she asked.
She also claimed the autopsy examination report of the victims given to their families was illegible. Vadra added that she will continue to fight till the minister resigns and Ashish Mishra is arrested.