Hari Om Mishra has become a household name in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district after he hurled a shoe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday during his road show in the central UP town.
Till the other day, Hari Om was known as a social worker fond of organising functions - from religious to those honouring soldiers.
On Vijay Diwas, he led a public meeting and candlelight vigil on the road named after Captain Manoj Pandey, who died during the 1999 Kargil war and was from Sitapur district. Pandey was honoured with Param Vir Charka, the country’s highest military honour.
The 25-year-old even wanted to join the Indian Army and made an unsuccessful attempt during a recruitment rally in Bareilly a while ago. Hari Om even mobilised youths in his Shastri Nagar colony to burn an effigy of Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif after last week’s terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri.
Hari Om, the eldest among four siblings, was angry with Gandhi for continuing to hold rallies rather than paying a tribute to the 18 soldiers who died in the Uri attack last week.
Ashok Kumar Mishra, Hari Om’s father who was working in his 5 acre farm in Mansoorpur village, about 20 km from Sitapur, on the day came to know about the incident through his relatives, who called him. His mother Radha Rani saw her son throwing the shoe on a news channel.
“After the Uri incident my son was upset. He discussed the incident several times with me and his maternal grandfather,” Mishra told Hindustan Times.
The killing of the 18 soldiers in Uri had left Hari Om enraged.
“His anger was with politicians and the current political dispensation in the country. He had developed a grudge against all politicians – be it Congress, BJP or any other party – for not giving the martyrs of Uri due respect,” Anuj Saxena, close friend of Hari Om, said.
“Rahul Gandhi just happened to be the unlucky national leader to land in Sitapur after the Uri incident. Had it been any other politician, Hari Om’s reactions would have been the same,” Saxena added.
With no political affiliation, Hari Om had developed a loathing for politicians and wanted more compensation for families of the dead soldiers.
“He (Hari Om) used to say that Rs 20 lakh compensation for martyrs of Uri was not enough. It should be nothing less than Rs 1 crore,” Praveen Mishra, Hari Om’s cousin, said.
Hari Om was arrested after the incident and interrogated by Sitapur Police. His bail application came up for hearing at the court of Sitapur’s chief judicial magistrate, Ranveer Singh, on Wednesday.
After listening to the arguments of the government council and Hari Om’s lawyer, Abhinav Mishra, the CJM reserved the order for the evening.
As any concerned mother, Radha Rani paid obeisance to deities, made rounds of several temples and waited with bated breath for her son’s return.
“My brother has committed no crime. He is not a criminal. He will definitely get bail,” Anshika, Hari Om’s sister, said with choked voice.
Anshika is also worried for her brother’s safety after he is released. NSUI district president Abhya Singh Chauhan had threatened Hari Om inside the Kotwali police station, where he was taken after being arrested, of dire consequences.
“In front of cops, she (Abhya) had threatened my brother. Who will ensure my brother’s safety?” Anshika asked.
His bail application was rejected by the CJM.
“I could not muster the courage to make a call to my daughter or to my wife to inform that the bail application has been rejected,” Mishra, who went to Sitapur for his son’s bail hearing, said.
“I take it as a God’s decision who wants to keep my son for a few more days in prison,” Radha Rani said with tears rolling after her husband broke the news.
Abhinav, Hari Om’s lawyer, said they will file a fresh bail application at the court of the district judge on Thursday.
“I am hopeful to get bail from the district judge’s court,” Abhinav said.
His friends says the day Hari Om steps out of district prison, he would be accorded a warm reception by them.