‘Need to question him’: UP police to seek Ashish Mishra’s custody in Lakhimpur Kheri case
Ashish Mishra has been named in a first information report (FIR) following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Uttar Pradesh police will file an application before a court on Monday, seeking the custody of Ashish Mishra in connection with the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri that claimed the lives of eight people, including four farmers, last week. UP police additional director general (law and order) Prashant Kumar said the Lakhimpur Kheri Police have applied for the custody remand of Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Mishra, to interrogate him further about the incident on October 3.
Kumar said the application of Ashish Mishra's custody remand was submitted in the competent court late on Saturday and that the court will hear the application on Monday. Ashish Mishra, who has been booked for murder, was arrested on Saturday after being questioned for more than 12 hours in Lakhimpur Kheri. He was produced before a court late on Saturday, which sent him to 14-day judicial custody in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Upendra Agarwal, deputy inspector general (headquarters), said Ashish Mishra was arrested after he failed to cooperate in the interrogation. “He could not inform or validate on various points regarding his whereabouts at the time of the incident. We will try to get information from him after getting him on police remand,” Agarwal said.
Officials said that Ashish Mishra was questioned about his location and involvement in the incident. Ashish Mishra appeared before the special investigation team (SIT) at around 10.30am on Saturday after the police sent a second summons to him the previous day after he failed to turn up for interrogation. A nine-member team headed by Agarwal has been formed to investigate the FIR lodged against the minister's son and others in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
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Ashish Mishra has been named in a first information report (FIR) following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting against UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit last Sunday. Farmer leaders and opposition parties had been demanding Mishra's arrest but the minister and his son have denied the allegations. Two BJP workers and their driver were also allegedly lynched by angry farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. Local journalist Raman Kashyap also died in the violence. The incident has triggered a political storm and put the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on the back foot in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the agitation against the Centre's three farm laws, alleged that the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri was a pre-planned conspiracy and demanded the arrest of the minister and his son. “We demand the dismissal of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra and immediate arrest of his son Ashish Mishra,” Yogendra Yadav, a leader of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a collective of farmer organisations, said at a media briefing in New Delhi on Saturday.
The farmer unions said if the government does not accept their demands by October 11, they will take out a 'Shaheed Kisan Yatra' from Lakhimpur Kheri with the ashes of the dead farmers. The SKM has also given a call for a “rail roko” protest across the country from 10am to 4pm on October 18 and a “mahapanchayat” in Uttar Pradesh's capital of Lucknow on October 26.