In an attempt to keep the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and killings politically alive, a high-level delegation of Congress leaders on Wednesday met President Ram Nath Kovind and urged him to dismiss Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son Ashish Mishra was arrested, and to direct setting up of an independent judicial investigation by a commission comprising two sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India or a high court.
Senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra told the President that the “unforgivable and merciless murder of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri” has “scarred the soul of India”.
“This deliberate act of murder, in broad daylight followed by the audacious reactions of the State and Central Governments, has completely eroded the people’s faith in those tasked with bringing these perpetrators to justice,” they said in a memorandum submitted to the President.
Referring to the continuing protests by farmer groups on the outskirts of Delhi against the three contentious farm laws, the Congress leaders told the President that “the Modi Government has refused to relent or have a meaningful conversation with them (the farmers). Their policy appears to be to “tire & retire” the Anndatas, a strategy doomed to failure.”
“In this context, it is important to note that on September 27th, 2021, the day of the Bharat Bandh called by protesting farmers against the three black laws, Ajay Mishra Teni, MoS Home Affairs, in a public function openly threatened the agitating farmers and even boasted about his dubious antecedents. The video of his speech has been played on different public platforms and is available in the public domain. How can justice be done when the original provocation came from Union MoS Home Affairs himself?” the memorandum s
“Thereafter, on October 3rd, as farmers carried out their peaceful protests, a cavalcade of vehicles (with two of the cars being owned by the Minister and his family) mowed down four farmers (and a journalist) from behind. It was one of the most gruesome and premeditated acts of bone-chilling murder ever seen and caught on camera. Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that the Minister’s son, Ashish Mishra was in the vehicle.”
“As has become the norm, the Uttar Pradesh Government and Police flatly refused to lodge an FIR and then refused to arrest the accused….,” the memorandum said.
The Congress leaders wondered “which police official would dare to fairly investigate the son of Union MoS Home Affairs with the father occupying a position of such high influence and who enjoys continued endorsements from both the central and the state governments.”