Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra has accepted that the vehicle seen running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri was indeed his.
Speaking to NDTV, Mishra said neither he nor his son was present at the spot when the incident happened.
“From Day One, we have been clear that the (Mahindra) Thar is ours, which is registered in our name. The vehicle was going to receive someone after picking up our workers,” Mishra said.
“My son was at another venue. From 11 am till the evening, he was organising another event. My son was present there, there were thousands there. There are photos and videos. If you take out his call records and CDR, location… can check all. Thousands of people are willing to give an affidavit also that Ashish Mishra was there,” Mishra told NDTV.
According to the FIR lodged on a complaint of Jagjit Singh, a native of Bahraich district, Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra alias Monu was sitting in the car that mowed down protesting farmers and he also opened fire at them
The FIR also alleged that ‘provocative’ statements of the Union minister of state for home had led to the farmers’ protest here during which violence erupted and claimed the lives of eight people.
Four farmers were killed after they were allegedly mowed down by SUVs during the protest, with Ashish Mishra riding in the vehicle that led his convoy on Sunday.
Four other people, including Bharatiya Janata Party workers, were later lynched by a mob. No arrest has been made in the case so far.
The deceased farmers have been identified as Gurvinder Singh, 22, Daljit Singh, 35, Nakshatra Singh and Lovepreet Singh (age of both not mentioned), it stated, adding some other farmers were left injured.
‘The farmers had gathered to lodge their protest after a video went viral in which the Union minister made comments during a public meeting and threatened to chase out the farmers from the state, prior to the (October 3) incident,’ the FIR stated.
‘The minister’s son committed the act in a display of hooliganism. The central government also did not take any action against the Union minister in the wake of the viral video and today (October 3), his son carried out the gruesome act,’ it added.
The complainant demanded the arrest of the minister and his son.
Meanwhile, a short video surfaced on social media on Tuesday purportedly showing a Mahindra Thar ploughing into a crowd.
The video, which begins and ends abruptly and is said to be from the protest site, has been shared by several opposition politicians who have blamed Mishra and his son for the violence.
However, a section of Internet users claimed that the windshield of an SUV, which is seen running over the people, was broken even before it hit the crowd.
Other users claimed to have spotted the minister’s son stepping out from the left side of the vehicle after it veered off the road.
The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 147, 148, 149 (all three related to rioting), 279 (rash driving), 338 (causes grievous hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life), 304A (causing death by negligence), 302 (murder), 120B (party to a criminal conspiracy).