Listen to this article:
Lucknow: Opposition parties and farmer leaders have intensified their demand for the resignation of Union minister Ajay Mishra, after the special investigation team (SIT) said that the Lakhimpur Kheri incident was not a “freak accident” but a “well-orchestrated conspiracy”.
Farmers’ leaders also say the SIT report is “incomplete” as it did not reveal the name of the conspirator in the incident.
Vidhyaram Diwakar, the SIT investigating officer, moved to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court to add new sections to the warrant, replacing sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way), 338 (whoever causes grievous hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently) and 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The officer requested the court to add Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and section 3/25/30 (Arms Act).
This new development came as a major embarrassment for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been silent over the resignation of its junior minister since the incident took place in Tikunia, Lakhimpur Kheri, on October 3.
After the SIT’s move, the farmer leaders and the opposition parties have started mounting pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to dismiss Mishra from his post of Minister of State for Home.
The farmer leaders believe that the time has come to remove him from the Union ministry as his son intentionally mowed down the farmers, who were returning to their home after participating in peaceful protests against the three contentious farm laws, which have now been repealed.
Activist Yogendra Yadav told The Wire that the SIT report was “incomplete” as it pointed out that the incident was a “pre-planned conspiracy” but did not reveal the name of the conspirator. “It is hilarious to say that Ashish Mishra was a conspirator. He was just a pawn.”
“Even after this report, if Prime Minister Modi does not sack Ajay Mishra, the farmers will make his resignation an issue in the run-up to the assembly elections,” Yadav added.
The Congress also came down heavily on the ruling dispensation and reiterated its demand for Mishra’s resignation from the post of Union minister. Party leader Deepak Singh told The Wire over the phone that his party raised the issue of Ajay Mishra’s arrest in the winter session of the state assembly. “As a Congressman and as a lawmaker, it is my duty to become a voice for farmers on the floor of the state assembly,” he said.
Mukut Singh, state secretary of The All India Kisan Sabha, said that the SIT report unmasks the hypocrisy of the saffron party towards the farmers. He added that the farmers might start another protest if the person who orchestrated the conspiracy against them is not sacked and sent to jail.
While speaking with The Wire, Samajwadi Party (SP) lawmaker in the legislative council, Udai Veer Singh, said that the saffron party is shielding a leader whose conspiracy breaches the peace and tranquility of the state. The SIT report is merely an eyewash if the main accused is enjoying privilege as a minister in the BJP government. The SP MLC demanded that “to ensure justice to the victims, Ajay Mishra should be sent behind bars”.
Alok Verma, a leader of the All India Kisan Union, said it is BJP president J.P. Nadda’s responsibility to expel the tainted leader from both his party and the ministry. If the BJP did not remove Ajay Mishra from the ministry, it would face the consequences in the upcoming polls.
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) termed the Lakhimpur Kheri incident a “massacre.” It demanded that “the Modi government should stop shielding the “conspirator” of the farmers’ massacre”. It further said that “the Indian farmers should not forget this massacre until we secure justice for the victims”.