Union minister Ajay Mishra was on Wednesday seen in a video abusing and manhandling a journalist on being questioned about a report on his son submitted by the Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Investigation Team. Ashish Mishra, the minister’s son is in jail in relation to the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

On Tuesday, the investigation team had said that the killing of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri was planned.

Four farmers were among the eight people who were killed in the Uttar Pradesh district in October during a protest against the agricultural laws. Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle belonging to Ashish Mishra had run over the protestors.

In a video widely shared on social media on Wednesday, a journalist can be seen asking for Ajay Mishra’s views on the report. The Union minister gets infuriated at the question and asks him not to ask “bewkoofi ke sawaal [stupid questions]”.

He then lunges towards another journalist who was shooting a video and shouts: “Phone band kar be [shut down the phone].”

Mishra then asks if charges have been framed against his son. To this, a journalist says that the investigation team has levelled allegations.

Ajay Mishra then tells the journalist to question the investigation team about the charges.

“Are you mad? These media persons...These thieves have done this to an innocent person...They have no shame,” Mishra can be heard saying.

After the incident, the journalist who had asked the question alleged that phones of his colleagues have been snatched. The journalist, at whom the minister had lunged, corroborated the allegations, adding that Bharatiya Janata Party members had snatched the phones.

“My mobile [phone] is still with them,” the second journalist alleged. He said that those who snatched his phone asked him to delete the videos of the incident.

“The police were there but no one said anything,” he alleged.

The videos were shot when Mishra had gone to Lakhimpur Kheri to inaugurate an oxygen plant, according to NDTV.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has intensified its demand to remove Mishra from the Cabinet.

On Wednesday, the Lok Sabha was adjourned initially till 2 pm, and then for the entire day as the Opposition leaders staged protests demanding Mishra’s removal.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sought a discussion on the investigation team’s report. He added that the Centre should immediately sack Mishra and ensure that the families of those killed in Lakhimpur Kheri get justice.

In the Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress MP Sushmita Dev said that the involvement of the son of the Union minister case “dampens the chances of a fair trial” in the Lakhimpur Kheri case.

The Bharatiya Janata Party rejected the Opposition’s demand to remove Ajay Mishra, describing the allegations as unfounded, reported PTI.

“Parliamentary rules dictate that a sub-judice matter is not discussed [in Parliament],” Leader of Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal told reporters.

SIT report

On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh Police had moved an application before a local court, seeking to add charges of attempt to murder (Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code) and “voluntarily causing grievous hurt” (Section 326) as well as sections of the Arms Act to the chargesheet filed against the accused persons, The Indian Express reported.

The Special Investigation Team, that is conducting an inquiry into the case, sought to add these charges as it found that the deaths in Lakhimpur Kheri did not take place because of negligence but “there was a deliberate and planned conspiracy with intention to kill”, Senior Prosecuting Officer SP Yadav told the newspaper.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Chinta Ram allowed the police to invoke those charges against the accused persons, Yadav added.

Besides Ashish Mishra, 12 people have been arrested in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri case. They are facing charges of criminal conspiracy and murder.