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New Delhi: After skipping Friday’s deadline to appear before Uttar Pradesh Police, Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish, finally arrived at the Lakhimpur Police lines on Saturday for questioning in connection with the incident that killed eight people, NDTV reported.
The UP Police had issued a fresh notice to Ashish Mishra, asking him to appear before it by 11 am Saturday, after he failed to appear for interrogation at 10 am on Friday.
Facing reporters at Lucknow airport, the junior home minister said his son Ashish Mishra could not appear before police as he was not well but will record his statement on Saturday. “This is a BJP government which works in an unbiased manner. Action will be taken against the guilty,” he said.
Mishra was named in a first information report (FIR) following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting over UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit on Sunday.
In addition to the four farmers killed, one of the other victims was freelance journalist Raman Kashyap. As The Wire has reported, his family’s complaint alleges that Kashyap was shot at because he was present at the spot filming the farmers being mowed down.
The police on October 7, Thursday arrested two people — identified as Luv Kush and Ashish Pandey who were in the same vehicle — in the case. They had also issued summons to Ashish Mishra on the same day. The move came hours after the Supreme Court asked the UP government who had been arrested so far for the October 3 incident.
According to India Today, Ashish Mishra has provided videos and affidavits of 10 persons to prove that he was not inside the car that mowed down protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3. He said that he was at a ‘dangal’ at the time of the incident.
In New Delhi, the Congress demanded the immediate dismissal of the minister of state and the arrest of his son. It also sought the setting up of a commission of two sitting judges to deliver justice within 30 days.
On Friday, the apex court said it is not satisfied with the steps taken by the UP government and questioned how an accused named in a murder FIR had not been arrested.
Meanwhile, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that no arrest will be made without evidence in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. “The Lakhimpur incident is very unfortunate. The government is going deep into its details,” he said, adding that “nobody needs to take the law into their own hands.”
Hitting out at the Opposition leaders who have visited the bereaved families of the farmers who have died in the incident, the chief minister said, “They are no goodwill messengers.”
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal separately met the bereaved families on Friday. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi were among those who visited them earlier.
Akhilesh Yadav claimed the summons to Ashish Mishra were an excuse to cover up the matter.
He too demanded Ajay Mishra’s resignation, questioning how stern action can be taken in the matter when officials are saluting him or presenting him with banquets.
(With inputs from PTI)
Note: This is a developing story. More information will added as soon as it is made available.