FIR says the attack was well-planned by the minister and his son
Amid evolving incidents centering Sunday’s fatalities in a protest programme by farmers in northern India, the minister whose SUV was seen running over the victims has finally admitted that he owned the vehicle.
Talking to NDTV on Tuesday, Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish has been named in the police complaint into the deadly violence in Uttar Pradesh that left eight people dead over the weekend, made the confession.
"From Day One, we have been clear that the [Mahindra] Thar is ours, which is registered in our name. And the vehicle was going to receive someone after picking up our workers. Our son was at another venue. From 11 am till the evening, he was organising another event,” he said.
“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," Ajay added.
"As far as the vehicle is concerned, I was clear that my driver was killed, two workers were killed. One worker escaped, three workers are injured, and after that, the car stopped there. After that, the car was pushed and the vehicle and another Fortuner was burnt. Such people can't be farmers. These are extremists hidden amongst farmers," he said.
The minister's clarification came as a video, purportedly of his SUV running over protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, was widely shared on social media.
Indian’s main opposition party, the Congress, and several social media users shared the video on Tuesday.
In another development, a hospitalized survivor of the incident, on Tuesday alleged that Ashish was driving the car that ran over farmers.
Tejinder Virk, hospitalised in Medanta, said it was unfortunate that even after 72 hours, the man had not been arrested.
Virk had organised the protest on Sunday against the Union Minister's visit to the area for an event.
"This was a conspiracy to kill us. Ajay Mishra had given a statement that he would not allow farmers in Uttar Pradesh, let alone Lakhimpur. We were protesting against this statement. We were constantly in touch with the police and administration. We were standing along the route to wave black flags at him," Virk added.
Simranjeet Singh, a farmer, said he saw people deserting the cars in the convoy, firing shots, and running away. But he couldn't see who was driving the SUV that rammed protesters.
Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, had drove into the gathering of protesting farmers, gun blazing, in which one farmer died, read the First Information Report, which was released this evening by the Uttar Pradesh police. "The act (mowing down the farmers) was a well-planned conspiracy by minister and his son," the FIR read.
FIR says minister, son planned the attack
A first information report (FIR) filed over the incident accused the minister’s son of ploughing through the protesting farmers, police said on Tuesday evening.
"The act (mowing down the farmers) was a well-planned conspiracy by minister and his son," the FIR read.
However, even three days into the gruesome event that killed eight people including four farmers and a journalist, Ashish was not arrested as of 11:20pm on Tuesday.
The police have attributed the delay to their being preoccupied with multiple issues including "negotiations with farmers, postmortems and cremations".
The FIR, based on a complaint by farmers, said they were holding a peaceful black flag protest on Sunday, hoping to block the visit of the Union Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya to the area.
Rahul Gandhi to visit Lakhimpur Kheri
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri on Wednesday, his party has announced, amid the state government's efforts at blocking many opposition leaders, including his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who have made a beeline for the district where eight people were killed in Sunday's violence.
In a letter written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Congress said a five-member delegation led by Rahul Gandhi planned to visit the district. It also called the detention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra "without any reason or justification".