The brothers of Sarla Mishra -- the late Congress leader who, in 1997, was found burnt in her home in South TT Nagar -- one of whom had appeared in the state assembly after the House was adjouned sine dine on Wednesday, demanding a CBI inquiry into his sister's death, sat on a dharna at Board Office square on Thursday.
In what seemed to be a BJP-orchestrated show to embarrass the then chief minister, Digvijaya Singh, the Mishra brothers -- Anand and Anurag -- were surrounded by a handful of BJP Mahila Morcha workers at the venue of the dharna.
Fingers were raised at Digvijaya Singh and his younger brother Laxman Singh over Sarla Mishra's death, who was supposed to close to the then chief minister.
Talking to HT, Anand Mishra, however, said that his dharna was not politically motivated and that his family had been fighting for justice for past 18 years.
"I wrote letters to the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and home ministers numerous times since 1997 but no steps were taken to do justice to us," he said.
When asked if Digivjaya Singh had announced a CBI probe into the death, he said, "He had made the announcement on the assembly floor but the state government did not take the necessary steps to hand over the inquiry to CBI. Six months after Singh's announcement, then CBI director Joginder Singh visited Bhopal and we approached him, he told us he didn't receive any letter from state government."
Anurag Mishra, Sarla's younger brother, said that Sarla had a dispute with Digvijaya Singh two days before her death. "We went to the state assembly to remind the chief minister as BJP leaders had promised a CBI inquiry into death before the 2003 state assembly election," he said.
Sarla Mishra, 39, was found burnt at her residence on February 14, 1997. In her dying declaration, she had said that she was upset over repeated failures in her political career, prompting her to set herself ablaze.
However, Anurag Mishra said, "The dying declaration was written in absence of family members. The handwriting should be verified but police didn't verify the handwriting. I strongly believe that the handwriting (in the declaration) is not that of my sister."
Aam Aadmi Party Madhya Pradesh unit convener Alok Agrawal has written a letter to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, demanding that the investigation into Sarla's death be handed over to CBI.
In his letter, Agrwal said that the incident had happened in 1997 during Congress regime and that the BJP had created ruckus in the state assembly for CBI probe in the case.
Agarwal said that despite BJP announcing in its manifesto in 2003 that it will initiate CBI probe in the case if it comes into power. "But till now the BJP government in the state has not ordered for CBI inquiry. I request you to order the probe at the earliest so that the guilty could be punished," he said in his letter.