Nobody Arrested Yet in Lakhimpur Kheri Case, Rakesh Tikait Gives Police One-Week Ultimatum

A murder case had been registered against Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son on Monday.

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New Delhi: Three days after eight people, including four protesting farmers, were killed in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri – many of the dead mowed down by SUVs including one allegedly belonging to junior Union home minister Ajay Kumar Mishra – no one has been arrested in the case yet.

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 dead because he was present at the spot filming the farmers being mowed down.

A murder case has been filed on Sunday’s incident, naming the minister’s son Ashish Mishra and others, but farmers allege that the authorities are shielding the accused by not making arrests. The opposition too has been making similar accusations. Several opposition leaders who tried to make their way to Lakhimpur Kheri, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Akhilesh Yadav, were detained by the police. The CPI(M) has said that the Narendra Modi government must remove Mishra from his post, given his son’s alleged involvement in the eight deaths.

Opinion is divided among lawyers and former police officials, with some insisting the police is duty bound to arrest a person named in a murder FIR and others arguing that the police needs time to investigate the offence before making arrests.

Also read: Just Three Hours Away From Lakhimpur Kheri, Narendra Modi Still Says Nothing About it

Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Tuesday gave the Uttar Pradesh government a week’s ultimatum for arresting Ashish. Tikait had earlier helped defuse the situation at Lakhimpur Kheri on Monday, asking the protesting farmers to go home and assuring them that justice would be served.

Tikait, who visited the house of Gurvinder Singh, a farmer from Moharnia village killed in the Lakhimpur violence, said the minister’s son was seen by many people at the spot on the fateful day. “People have several videos that will come up as soon as the net is restored,” he said.

“The district administration has said they will arrest the minister’s son in a week. If it does not happen, we will assemble at one place on the day of bhog of all four farmers, when it is held in eight to ten days. We will then discuss and decide our next strategy,” he added.

Gurvinder’s body was cremated on Wednesday morning after a second autopsy was conducted on him as demanded by his family, PTI reported. Family members of the 22-year-old, from Moharia village of Bahraich, had earlier refused to cremate him, claiming that he was shot dead but the post-mortem report had no mention of it. They received support from farmer leader Rakesh Tikait and Punjabi singer Sonia Maan.

The three other farmers were cremated on Tuesday.

Also read: Indian Origin MPs in UK, Canada Call for Justice for Farmers Killed at Lakhimpur Kheri

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha said in a statement that it “maintains that one of the deceased protestors, Gurvinder Singh, was shot dead”. “Samyukt Kisan Morcha demands the immediate arrest of the Minister, his son and accomplices and also demands the dismissal of the Union Minister Ajay Mishra and Haryana CM Khattar. (The) agitation will not be called off until these demands are met, and a programme of action will be announced soon for the same,” the statement said.

Farmers have insisted that Sunday’s violence was a planned conspiracy by Ajay Kumar Mishra and his son. The Union minister had several days earlier been seen on video making derogatory comments about the protesting farmers, including that he would “discipline them in two minutes” if they were in front of him.